India objects to US diplomat's visit to AJK

Our objection to visit and meetings in AJK by US ambassador has been conveyed, says foreign ministry spokesperson


Reuters October 07, 2022
This was Ambassador Donald Blome's first official trip to Azad Jammu and Kashmir since he landed in Islamabad. PHOTO: TWITTER/@usembislamabad

NEW DELHI:

India said on Friday it had conveyed its objection to the United States about the US ambassador in Pakistan's recent visit to the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Ambassador Donald Blome paid an official trip to AJK for the first time since he landed in the capital Islamabad to take up his job earlier this week.

Our objection to the visit and meetings in AJK by the US ambassador to Pakistan has been conveyed to the US side, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a news briefing.

In an official statement released on Wednesday, the US Embassy said that Donald Blome’s visit to AJK on Oct. 2-4 was to “promote the US-Pakistan partnership and highlight the two countries’ deep economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties.”

During his stay in picturesque valley, he met with Prime Minister Tanveer Ilyas and representatives from academia, business, cultural, and civil society organisations.

He also laid a wreath to honour the victims of the 2005 earthquake.

Read more: 'Symbol of cultural richness,' says Blome on visit to Quaid-e-Azam Dak Bungalow in AJK

“During the 75 years of our partnership, the United States has always stood by Pakistan, particularly when it’s needed most,” said the US ambassador.

"The United States is continuing this strong tradition of supporting Pakistan during times of great need, having thus far contributed more than $66 million in cash, food, shelter, and health assistance in response to the devastating flooding. The US support has included a US military airbridge that delivered lifesaving supplies to the people of Pakistan," said Blome.

Read Pakistan lures US investment

He also visited the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Dak Bungalow, the Red Fort, and the Jalalabad Garden – symbols of the cultural and historical richness of Pakistan.

AJK Premier Ilyas, during his meeting with the ambassador, raised the ongoing human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and urged the US to play its role and “stop India from human rights violations against the innocent Kashmiri people.”

Ilyas also presented a proposal to the US envoy for investment in tourism, education, culture and other sectors in Azad Kashmir, according to the AJK premier’s office.

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