Ilhan's visit not 'sponsored' by US govt, says spokesperson

Amid claims that the United States was "trying to clear the air" with former prime minister Imran Khan through Congress Representative Ilhan Omar who is on a visit to Pakistan, Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price said the visit of the US lawmaker who also met PM Shehbaz was not "sponsored" by the US government.

The spokesperson was responding to a question from a Pakistani media outlet's reporter who sought the stance of the US government over claims being made by the supporters of Imran.

"Close associates of Mr Khan claim that [the] United States is trying to clear the air with Mr Khan. Is it true that Ilhan Omar is representing [the] Biden government there in Islamabad," the journalist asked alluding to the conspiracy allegations levelled by Imran against Washington.

Read US congresswoman LoC visit draws India's ire

"Well, 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 responded during a press briefing.

Omar, a Muslim Congress representative, on Wednesday called on Imran to discuss "Islamophobia" and related issues with the former prime minister. The picture of the meeting was shared by PTI stalwart and former human rights minister Shireen Mazari.

The Ilhan-led delegation had also met National Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Ashraf and President Arif Alvi during the visit. She had also visited Azad Jammu Kashmir and met its president to discuss rights abuses by India in occupied Kashmir.

"I don't believe that it (Kashmir) is being talked about to the extent it needs to in Congress but also with the administration," Omar told reporters after visiting the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing the disputed territory between Pakistan and India.

Her LoC visit also prompted a sharp response from the Indian government who termed the visit a violation of its "territorial sovereignty".

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