Palestine envoy recalled after India's strong protest

02 January, 2018, 03:18 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Palestinian envoy to Pakistan Waleed Abu Ali with 26/11 mastermindd Hafiz Saeed at Rawalpindi rally

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.

In a statement addressed to India, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the envoy's participation "in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism" was "an unintended mistake, but not justified".

While regretting Ali's presence at the Saeed event, Alhaijaa said the envoy had gone for an Al Quds (Jerusalem) conference. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for Lashker-e-Taiba, a militant group that fights Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, and which was blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.

A day after India's demarche, Palestine ambassador Adnan Abu Al Haija told TOI, "Our ambassador in Pakistan has committed a fault, knowingly or otherwise".

According to the Hindustan Times, the Palestinian move came after India strongly objected to the envoy's presence at the DPC rally.


"Palestine highly values its relationship with India and stands with New Delhi in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India", it said. This is not acceptable that a Palestinian Ambassador shared the stage with a terrorist wanted by India.

Just three weeks before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel on a state visit to India with the sole Jewish survivor of the horrific 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India's Ambassador voted to support a United Nations General Assembly resolution rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Palestinians deeply value the true voices of solidarity with our struggle for self-determination in Pakistan and India alike, and this solidarity can only be based on a common commitment to freedom, justice and equality as well as respect for worldwide law. He was recently placed under house arrest for 11 months but was released after a court ruled in his favor.

Saeed is subject to worldwide sanctions for his association with Lashkar-e-Taiba, including United Nations restrictions that subject him, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other associated organisations to an asset freeze, arms embargo and global travel ban. These organisations include Harkat-ul Mujahideen and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (now renamed as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat) - which has been twice banned as terrorist organisation in Pakistan itself. The rally in Rawalpindi was organised to oppose the U.S. move.

But the statement issued yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of Palestine looks like an attempt to present its envoy Walid Abu Ali as an innocent man who made an error of judgment in the realm of diplomacy.

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