India raises strong objection to US envoy's visit to Pak-Occupied Kashmir
During his visit to PoK, US envoy to Pakistan Donald Blome repeatedly mentioned the occupied Indian territory as ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’.
India on Friday objected to US ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome's visit to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir wherein he repeatedly referred to the region as AJK.
Arindam Bagchi, the ministry of external affairs spokesperson, said that the Modi government's objections to the visit and meetings in PoK by the US envoy has been conveyed to Washington.
During his visit to PoK, Blome repeatedly mentioned the occupied Indian territory as ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’. “The Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Dak Bungalow symbolizes the cultural and historical richness of Pakistan and was famously visited by Jinnah in 1944. I’m honored to visit during my first trip to AJK”, his official Twitter handle had tweeted.
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It is the second high-profile visit by a US diplomat to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, after US Congresswoman Illhan Omar visited the region. In a strongly worded statement, India has said, "She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir 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 it ours."
India in 1994 had passed a resolution saying PoK is part of India and Pakistan must vacate and end its illegal occupation. In July, defence minister Rajnath Singh had made a strong PoK pitch, stating it was a part of India and will continue to do so.
Addressing a rally in Jammu, Singh had invoked Sharda Peeth, which has the ruins of a temple of Hindu goddess Saraswati, also known as Sharda, located close to the Kishen Ganga river in the Neelum Valley. The site located around 150 kilometres from Muzaffarabad holds religious significance for Kashmiri Pandits.