United States Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullah Omar on Wednesday met Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Arif Alvi during her maiden visit to Pakistan.
The Congresswoman is on a four-day visit to Pakistan during which she will meet with the political leadership in Islamabad, she will visit Lahore and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to have a greater understanding of Pakistan’s cultural, social, political, and economic potential.
Ms Omar called on President Arif Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Speaking on the occasion, President Alvi said that Pakistan values its longstanding relationship with the US and expressed the hope that the constructive engagements between the two countries would promote peace and development in the region.
He emphasised the need for further improving bilateral relations in various fields for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
He apprised the visiting dignitary about the atrocities being committed by the PM Modi-led government in India against minorities, particularly Muslims.
He said that India was involved in the genocide of Muslims and committed gross human rights violations against them.
He also highlighted the role played by Pakistan in the promotion of peace in the region as well as its sacrifices against the war on terror.
The president underlined that IT is the most important sector for investment and urged US businessmen to invest in this sector.
Omar said that both countries had huge potential to improve and strengthen bilateral relations. She appreciated the role played by Pakistan against Islamophobia, particularly towards the adoption of UN resolution in this regard.
PM SHEHBAZ SHARIF: Later, Congresswoman Omar met PM Shehbaz in his office who warmly welcomed her on her first-ever visit to Pakistan and appreciated her courage of convictions and political struggle.
The PM’s Office said the premier expressed the hope that it would lead to deepening people-to-people ties and strengthen exchanges between the Parliament of Pakistan and the US Congress.
The prime minister underscored that Pakistan valued its long-standing relationship with the United States and wanted to further deepen bilateral cooperation based on mutual respect, trust, and equality.
He highlighted that constructive engagement between the two countries could help promote peace, security, and development in the region.
During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including Pakistan-US bilateral relations as well as regional situations were discussed. Maintaining that the US was Pakistan’s largest trading partner, the prime minister emphasised the need to further enhance cooperation between the two countries, especially in the trade and investment fields.
The prime minister lauded the efforts of the Pakistani diaspora in reinforcing the Pakistan-US ties and added that Islamabad deeply valued their contribution to national development and growth.
The prime minister highlighted the serious human rights situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, enabling the region to realize its economic potential and promote social progress.
The prime minister emphasised that a peaceful and stable South Asian region can focus on its growth and development. He added that concerted efforts, at the global level, were needed to deal with the scourge of Islamophobia.
In response, the congresswoman thanked the prime minister and hoped that her visit to the country would help strengthen ties between Pakistan and the US Congress.
IMRAN KHAN: Ms Omar called on former prime minister Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence.
According to a tweet by former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, the two discussed Islamophobia and other issues during the meeting.
The US lawmaker “expressed her admiration for Imran Khan and his position on and work against Islamophobia globally,” Mazari said. The ousted premier also appreciated Omar’s courageous principled stance on issues.
NA SPEAKER: The US congresswoman also met National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at the Parliament House earlier.
Ashraf, during the meeting, stressed that relations between Pakistan and USA are vital for regional progress and development.
“Enhancing parliament to parliament contacts would strengthen these relations between both countries,” stated a press release from the NA Secretariate quoting Ashraf.
“Both countries are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations and he expressed his desire to strengthen these ties for promoting mutual interests.”
The speaker also appreciated the struggle and commitment of Congresswoman Omar to ensuring the fundamental rights of minorities, women and children in the US. He said that she symbolized the struggle and resolve that every woman has in the world.
The visit of a US Congress delegation would pave way for strengthening ties between both countries, the press release further quoted the speaker.
While mentioning the Women Parliamentary Caucus and Young Parliamentary Forum in Parliament of Pakistan, Ashraf said that these were supporting parliament in pro-women legislative functions proactively.
Furthermore, the NA speaker also highlighted blatant human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) during the meeting.
“The world community needs to take cognizant of this severe issue as the Indian government is violating all basic norms of humanity in IIOJK,” he said adding that Pakistan was committed to eliminating terrorism from its soil and it always desires for a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan as its neighbour.
The press release added that Omar appreciated the warm welcome she received upon her arrival in Pakistan.
“USA values high its ties with Pakistan as both countries had been partners in progress since last seven decades,” she said. “USA would continue to support Pakistan, especially in the fields of education, health and women empowerment.”
The US delegation also appreciated the rich landscape beauty of Pakistan as they visited Azad Jammu & Kashmir.