Canadian MP Rob Oliphant described visiting Pakistani leader Masood Khan as the “President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir” in a tweet, which he later deleted owing to the sensitive nature of India-Pak border area.
OTTAWA – A Canadian MP from prime minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party caucus called Pakistan-held border area with India “Azad Kashmir”.
Rob Oliphant, a member of the House of Commons, described visiting Pakistani leader Masood Khan as the “President of Azad Jammu & Kashmir” in a tweet.
Among those to counter it was Indo-Canadian entrepreneur Vijay Sappani, who tweeted back: “There is no country called ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir’ Mr. @Rob_Oliphant , like there is no country called Quebec.”
The latter reference was to the Canadian province that has been plagued by a decades-long separatist movement.
Oliphant’s tweet came after a meeting with Khan, who he described as a “former senior diplomat” who “brings insight and compassion to a difficult situation in the region”.
Oliphant later deleted his tweet and said, “I recognise that the more neutral term would be Pakistan Administered Kashmir. I have used that term in my Facebook post and will use it in the future.”
He explained his “normal practice is to use the name of the territory used by the people who live there and by those who invited me to have dinner with them” and that he understood “there are sensitivities related to Kashmir”.
Oliphant is co-chair of the Canada-Pakistan Friendship Association, though he is also close to the Indo-Canadian community.