Islamabad/New Delhi, Apr 22 (EFE).- US congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s visit to disputed Pakistan-administered Kashmir Thursday sparked a sharp reaction from India, calling the controversial trip to the disputed Himalayan region a “narrow-minded politics.”
The Muslim Congresswoman is on a four-day Pakistan during which she visited parts of the disputed region divided between the two South Asian nuclear rivals.
In Pakistani Kashmir, officially called Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Omar met regional President Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary in the capital Muzaffarabad.
A Kashmir government statement said the US congresswoman vowed to join hands with other members in the US Congress for “solidarity with Kashmiris and raise the plight of Kashmiris in the Biden administration.”
The comments and the visit to Kashmir sparked an angry reaction from India.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the government had “noted” Omar’s visit to “a part of the Indian Kashmir that is 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 and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours. This visit is condemnable.”
The idyllic Kashmir region has been at the heart of the territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since their independence from the British rule and partition of the sub-continent in 1947.
The two countries have fought two of their three wars over the Muslim-majority region that they rule in parts but claim in its entirety.
The 39-year-old US politician, known for being vocal against Islamophobic voices and her support for the Palestinian cause, is the first senior official to visit Pakistan after a new government was formed following the ouster of Imran Khan.
She has previously condemned India’s alleged human rights violations in the disputed Kashmir region.
“We should be calling for an immediate restoration of communication, respect for human rights, democratic norms, and religious freedom, and de-escalation in Kashmir,” Omar tweeted in 2019, days after India unilaterally stripped the disputed region of its semi-autonomy after imposing months-long security lockdown.
Omar’s criticism of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial Kashmir decisions made her a target of harsh and sometimes abusive social media criticism in India. EFE