Palestine recalls its ambassador for attending pro-Palestine rally with Hafiz Saeed


ISLAMABAD, Dec 31 (TNS): Palestine on Saturday recalled its ambassador to Pakistan who attended a pro-Palestinian rally alongside Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) cheif Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, a statement issued by its foreign ministry said.

Palestinian Ambassador Walid Abu Ali on Friday shared the stage with the JuD chief at the Tahaffaz-i-Baitul Muqaddas Conference in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh, organised by the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC).

Saeed, who was last month set free from a 300-day-long house arrest, has been repeatedly accused by the US and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people. But Saeed has always refuted the allegations saying that he had nothing to do with the attack and Pakistani courts too have numerous times revoked the laws imposed on saeed regarding the allegations.

“… the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates considered the participation of our ambassador in Pakistan in a mass rally in solidarity with Jerusalem, held in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified,” said the Palestinian foreign ministry’s statement, without naming Saeed.

Read: US warns of ‘damage to bilateral ties, Pakistan’s reputation’ over Hafiz Saeed’s release

The ministry said the decision to recall the envoy to Pakistan immediately had come “under direct instructions of the President of the State of Palestine”.

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

A statement issued by Indian Ministry of External Affairs, according to the report, said the Palestinian side “conveyed deep regrets over the incident and assured the government of India that they are taking serious cognisance of their ambassador’s presence” at the event.

The Palestinian foreign ministry in its statement said Palestine “highly appreciates” the move by India to vote in favour of a resolution asking the US to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital at the United Nations General Assembly.

Hafiz Saeed was declared a global terrorist by the US and UN over his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks that left nearly 166 people dead, including Western nationals.

JuD is considered by the US and India to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant group blamed for the attacks.

The US identifies LeT as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group was headquartered in Muridke before it was disbanded and re-organised.

Following the Lahore High Court’s decision to cut his detention short, Saeed had told media that the decision was tantamount to “the victory of truth” and called it “a serious blow” to India’s demands