Thursday April 21, 2022
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar met Wednesday with Pakistani leaders in
the first visit by a member of Congress since a new coalition government came
into power in Islamabad last week after the ouster of former premier Imran
According to a government statement, Omar met with President
Arif Alvi at his office. Omar, one of only a handful of Muslim members of
Congress, met with Khan earlier at his residence in the capital of Islamabad.
Omar is a Somali-born Muslim-American immigrant who
represents Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Alvi said in the statement that Pakistan values its
long-standing relationship with Washington and hoped the “constructive
engagements between the two countries would promote peace and development in
the region.” Alvi emphasized the need for further improving bilateral relations
between the two countries.
The statement quoted Omar as saying that both countries had
“huge potential to improve and strengthen relations.” It also said Omar
“appreciated the role played by Pakistan” in combating Islamophobia.
Pakistan says it was key to getting the U.N. General Assembly
to approve a resolution setting March 15 as the International Day to Combat
Islamophobia. The resolution emphasizes the right to freedom of religion and
belief and recalls a 1981 resolution calling for “the elimination of all forms
of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.”
Omar also met with Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister
In a statement released by Sharif’s office, the prime
minister said he appreciated Omar’s “courage of convictions and her political
Sharif said Pakistan valued its long-standing relationship
with the U.S. and wanted to further deepen bilateral cooperation based on
mutual respect, trust and equality.
Omar also visited Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, where she met
with the minister of state for foreign affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar.
Pakistan has been a key ally of the United States in the war
on terror since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But relations deteriorated last
month when Khan claimed the U.S. conspired to oust his government. Washington
has denied the charge.
Khan was removed from power this month through a
no-confidence vote by the opposition. He has been replaced by Prime Minister
Sharif, who named his Cabinet the day before.