Amid a row over US envoy to Pakistan Blome’s six-day visit to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) last week, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said, “It’s not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but he’s been before and we obviously had part of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during G20 as well”.
The six-day visit by the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, has raised eyebrows both in India and Gilgit Baltistan. During his visit to the region which concluded on Sunday, Blome visited different areas and met with local representatives and GB government officials, Dawn reported.
While speaking to the reporters, Garcetti made it clear that the Jammu and Kashmir issue has to be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan and not by any third party, including the US. “We’ll stay engaged but this is an issue we very religiously know that has to be resolved between India and Pakistan not by any third party including the US,” he stated.
As per the reports, Blome received clearance from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to visit the region.
Pak opposition leader questions the visit
According to Pakistani news outlet Dawn, Blome’s six-day trip to Gilgit Baltistan was questioned by the region’s opposition leader Kazim Mesum. During the question hour in the region’s assembly on Friday, Mesum said that ‘the mysterious activities’ of the US ambassador in the region have raised the eyebrows of many. ‘There is a set procedure for any country’s ambassador to visit the region,’ he said. The trip was kept under wraps by both the US embassy and the region’s government. Mesum insisted that such an ‘undisclosed visit’ can be ‘extremely alarming’.
Garcetti on standing ovation given to a Nazi war veteran in the Canadian Parliament
Asked about the standing ovation given to a Nazi war veteran in the Canadian Parliament, Garcetti said: “I think everybody recognises the mistake.” He refused to comment on the US sharing intelligence on the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
“It’s not my place to speak on another country, Canada. As a matter of business, not just this, we don’t talk about intelligence or criminal justice matters,” Garcetti said.
In response to a question, Garcetti said India had extended an invitation to US President Joe Biden to visit New Delhi as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations, but the schedule was yet to be confirmed.
“There is an invitation that has been extended. Schedule not confirmed yet,” Garcetti said.