Palestine recalls Pak envoy after India protests

Aaron Brown
January 2, 2018

India had lodged a protest with the Palestinians on Saturday, calling the envoy's association with Saeed "unacceptable". This is not acceptable that a Palestinian Ambassador shared the stage with a terrorist wanted by India.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has recalled its ambassador to Pakistan after he attended a rally in support of Palestine's position on Jerusalem hosted by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who carries a $10m United States bounty on his head for allegedly masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Gokhale called Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi Adnan Abu Al Haija to the South Block. "We are taking up the matter strongly with the Palestinian Ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities", said the MEA on Saturday.

The Palestinian side too had conveyed "deep regrets", assuring India that they will take serious cognisance of their ambassador's presence at the event. It said that the Palestinian side had conveyed that it "highly values its relationship with India and stands with us in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India".

On Friday, the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan had attended a rally by the Difa-e-Pakistan radical Islamist front led by Hafiz Saeed at Rawalpindi's Liaqat Bagh, and had been photographed with Saeed, accused of being the mastermind of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.

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Palestine calls it unintended mistake.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, saying it welcomed his "active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine". "We take note of the assurances given by the Palestine side", the MEA statement said. He will report to Ramallah soon", Alhaijaa said."We share historical ties with India, which are close and friendly...

The widely circulated picture of Abu Ali sharing a stage with Saeed in Rawalpindi, which also houses the headquarters of the Lashkar boss's mentor the Pakistan Army, led to strong outrage in official circles, coming as it does close on the heels of India going against the U.S. in a vote in the United Nations on the American decision to support Israel's move to declare Jerusalem its capital.

Saeed's status has always been a thorn in the rocky relationship between Pakistan and India. More than 50 speakers addressed the rally, including Hafiz Saeed.

Since his release, Saeed has made several anti-India and anti-US statements at various rallies across Pakistan, invoking Khulbhushan Jadhav and Kashmir. "In fact, when Saeed spoke, he asked people around him who he was.He did not know the terrorist personally". In early December, he had met Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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