US distances itself from Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s visit to Pakistan

As I understand it, Representative Omar is not visiting Pakistan on US government sponsored travel. “So I’d need to refer you to her office for questions on her travel,” Price added at his daily news briefing in response to a question from a Pakistani reporter.

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WASHINGTON: United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s current travel to Pakistan is not sponsored by the U.S. government, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.

“As I understand it, Representative Omar is not visiting Pakistan on US government-sponsored travel,” he told reporters at his daily news briefing in response to a question from a Pakistani reporter.

“So, I’d need to refer you to her office for questions on her travel,” Price added. Ms. Omar, a Democrat, arrived in Islamabad earlier this week on a visit to Pakistan, and will stay till April 24.

On Wednesday, the American lawmaker met President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar. She also met former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. However, her meeting with Imran Khan generated controversy as the ex-premier has been claiming that a US-backed conspiracy was behind his government’s ouster.

Pakistan appreciated the strong voice that Congresswoman Ilhan raised against Indian atrocities in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and for the people of Palestine. Hina Rabbani Khar underscored that Pakistan and the United States had a longstanding and broad-based relationship. On this occasion, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar thanked the Minister of State for the hospitality extended to the delegation during their visit.

Acknowledging the importance of Pakistan-US bilateral relations, she agreed that historically, both Pakistan and the United States had benefited whenever the two countries worked together and promised to further cement these ties.

Washington has firmly denied his claims. Some politicians immediately chided the PTI chairman for the meeting with Ms. Omar, reminding him of his criticism of US officials meeting opposition figures. In this regard, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah posed the question to Khan, “Was the meeting with the American Congresswoman part of a conspiracy or was its interference?”

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