Palestine to recall Pakistan ambassador after he publicly appears with Hafiz Saeed


NEW DELHI: After India issued a strongly worded demarche to the Palestine Authority, the Palestinian envoy to Pakistan has been recalled. Speaking to TOI, Palestinian ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija said, “our ambassador in Pakistan has committed a fault, knowingly or otherwise. He is being recalled to Ramallah. He will no longer be the Palestine ambassador to Pakistan. Relations with India are very important for us.”

A statement from the Palestine foreign ministry said “the participation of our ambassador in Pakistan in a mass rally in solidarity with Jerusalem, held in Rawalpindi on Friday and in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified. Accordingly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates under the direct instructions of the President of the State of Palestine to recall the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan immediately.”

Al Haija was called in by Vijay Gokhale, secretary ER in MEA for India to express India’s concerns after the Palestinian envoy in Pakistan Waleed Abu Ali was seen together with Hafiz Saeed, head of the terror group LeT.”We stand together with India in its fight against terrorism,” Al Haija said. “It is a historical relationship and we are working to strengthen it.”

Describing it as “unacceptable”, MEA said India’s concerns “were conveyed both in New Delhi to the Palestinian Ambassador and in Ramallah to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, State of Palestine.” In a statement, 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. “They have said they will deal with this matter appropriately.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is supposed to travel to Palestine in the coming months. “I cannot disclose the exact date, but I can confirm that Mr Modi will travel to Palestine,” Al Haija said. The Indian government said they had been assured by Palestine that they would not “engage with those who commit acts of terror against India.”

Pictures of the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan, Waleed Abu Ali, circulated on social media after he reportedly attended a rally organized by the Difah-e-Pakistan Council in Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi. Difah-e-Pakistan Council is an umbrella group of 40 religious and extremist groups in Pakistan, headed by the JUD chief, Hafiz Saeed. Saeed is banned as a global terrorist by the UN and is accused as the mastermind of the 26/11 attacks. Saeed used the rally to call for an “Islamic summit” to defend Jerusalem from Israel.

India, like 127 other countries voted on the principle that the status of Jerusalem would be decided after a deal between Israel and Palestine. India’s vote was seen to be against Israel a close friend of India, as well as US its close strategic partner.

Not only has the Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas visited India earlier this year on a state visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Palestine in the coming months. Palestine, however, has consistently voted against India on the J&K issue both in the UN and in the OIC for years, while criticising India’s growing relationship with Israel.

Source: Times of India


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