India Slams Rep. Omar’s Visit to Kashmir as ‘Condemnable’

India Slams Rep. Omar's Visit to Kashmir as 'Condemnable' Ilhan Omar Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

By Solange Reyner | Thursday, 21 April 2022 12:39 PM

Rep. Ilhan Omar's visit to Pakistan's part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir has drawn India's ire.

"She visited a part of J&K currently illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home, that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes this ours. Condemnable," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Omar's visit to the region was the first by a U.S. delegation in three years. One of only a handful of Muslim members of Congress, the Minnesota Democrat met with Pakistan's President Arif Alvi at his office on Wednesday and with former premier Imran Khan earlier at his residence in the capital, Islamabad.

Alvi said in a statement that Pakistan values its longstanding relationship with the U.S. and hoped the "constructive engagements between the two countries would promote peace and development in the region."

Omar expressed displeasure with the fact that U.S. lawmakers were not discussing human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and said both countries had "huge potential to improve and strengthen relations."

She also said she "appreciated the role played by Pakistan" in combating Islamophobia.

"The condemnations and concerns of those who fight for human rights and the question of Kashmir will be included in future hearings within the USA,'' Omar assured after meeting Azad Kashmir President Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry.

Khan was removed from power this month through a no-confidence vote by the opposition. He has been replaced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who named his cabinet on Tuesday.

Pakistan has been a key ally of the United States in the war on terror since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But relations deteriorated last month when Khan claimed the U.S. conspired to oust his government. Washington has denied the charge.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.