Palestinians recall envoy after rally with wanted cleric

  • Palestinians recall envoy after rally with wanted cleric

Palestinians recall envoy after rally with wanted cleric

Palestine recalled its envoy after strong protest from India, pointing out, it highly values its relationship with the country. Palestine has very close ties with India and has always supported India's fight against terror.

Saeed, Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JuD) chief and co-founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), was photographed with Palestinian envoy Walid Abu Ali, attending a rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Liaquat Bagh in Pakistani's Rawalpindi on Friday morning.

It said that concerns were conveyed in both New Delhi to the Palestinian Ambassador and in Ramallah to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, State of Palestine.

In a statement, the MEA said the Palestinian side has conveyed "deep regrets" over the incident and assured India that they are taking serious cognisance of their ambassador's presence at this event.

India issued a strongly worded demarche after photos of Walid Abu Ali sharing the stage with Saeed and addressing the rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) were circulated on social media on Friday. The envoy's participation in the rally "in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified", it said.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, saying it welcomed his "active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to visit Palestine in early 2018, and the decision of the Palestinian diplomat to support one of India's most wanted terrorists could have cast a shadow on the plans for the visit.

The ministry said the decision to recall the envoy to Pakistan immediately had been taken "under direct instructions of the President of the State of Palestine". India's vote was seen to be against Israel, a close friend of India as well as U.S., its strategic partner.

While regretting Ali's presence at the Saeed event, Alhaijaa said the envoy had gone for an Al Quds (Jerusalem) conference. He did not know the terrorist Hafiz Saeed.

India was among 128 United Nations member states, including Pakistan, to vote for a non-binding resolution rejecting Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel earlier this month. Palestine, however, has consistently voted against India on the J&K issue- both in the United Nations and in OIC- for years, while criticising India's growing relationship with Israel. His appearance and support for Pakistan - and Pakistani terrorists - was seen as a major slap in the face to India. We also condemn sharing of a stage with him by any Palestinian official, an act that contradicts our people's principled commitment to universal human rights and democracy and undermines the decades-long friendship between the Indian people and the people of Palestine.