Amid the widespread criticism, the United States Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, on Tuesday, attempted to downplay the visit of the US Ambassador in Pakistan, Donald Blome, to Gilgit and Hunza valleys and compared his visit to the delegation tour to Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting. The meeting was held from 22nd to 24th May 2023 in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.
Notably, a row erupted in Pakistan and India after the US envoy visited the illegally occupied region, PoK. Citing the American embassy, Pakistan English Daily, Dawn, claimed that the purpose of the trip was to "explore opportunities for strengthening the region’s climate resilience."
It is worth mentioning New Delhi claims that the region belongs to India and the visit of any foreign delegates to the region is considered a "violation".
Meanwhile, speaking to media persons on Tuesday, Garcetti defended the visit but said the issue of Kashmir must be resolved by the two countries and added no country should interfere in the matter, including the US.
“We'll stay engaged but it has to be something that is resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party including the US,” he said.
Trip was kept under wraps and both the US embassy and the region’s government
According to Dawn, the trip was kept under wraps and both the US embassy and the region’s government did not issue any details or inform the media about the visit. The only official information about the envoy’s visit came in a statement issued by the GB deputy speaker’s office.
Further, during the question hour in the assembly, Kazim Mesum, the opposition leader, tagged the visit "mysterious", adding that the GB government was not aware of the visit. “There is a set procedure for any country’s ambassador to visit the region,” he said, and called Mr Blome’s arrival in Gilgit after visiting Gwadar “suspicious”.
Pakistan govt atrocities in PoK region
It is worth mentioning that Pakistan has been imposing stringent laws against Baloch people and even put them behind bars for writing posts that are critical of the government.
Recently, several political activists were arrested in Muzaffarabad, the capital city of PoK, on August 11 for sharing anti-Pakistan posts on social media. They were beaten at the local police station and forced to condemn their actions and repost pro-Pakistan statements on social media. Besides, Baloch people have been protesting against Chinese investments in their regions, despite the fact a large population is unemployed. They don't want the government to let the Chinese government provide jobs and other developmental projects.