India objects on Palestine envoy to Pakistan sharing stage with Hafiz Saeed

The ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan was seen sharing a stage with Hafiz Saeed, the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 160.

Walid Abu Ali, the Palestinian envoy attended a large rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Friday morning.

India reacted with anger after Palestine’s envoy to Pakistan joined Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed at a rally organised by jihadi groups on Friday, just days after New Delhi backed a UN resolution that denounced Washington’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Photos of the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, sharing the stage with Saeed and addressing the rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council at Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi were circulated on social media on Friday. The rally was organised to condemn the US move on Jerusalem.

The development caused an angry response from the external affairs ministry, with spokesperson Raveesh Kumar saying in a brief statement: “We are taking up the matter strongly with the Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities.”

Indian government later said it will strongly take the issue with Palestine.

Formed in 2012, Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DPC) is an alliance of Islamist groups in Pakistan, campaigning for a break in ties with the United States and an end to any chances of warming of relations with India.

Hafiz Saeed, who carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the US for his involvement in terror activities, made several anti-India and anti-US statements at the rally, invoking Khulbhushan Jadhav and Kashmir.

Interestingly, earlier this month, India joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This was in sync with Palestinian sentiments.

In her intervention at the NAM ministerial meeting on Palestine on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said the path to Israel-Jerusalem peace clearly lay in an early negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.