Palestine on Saturday recalled its envoy to Pakistan for sharing the stage with Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed after India protested the “unacceptable” association.
“We are supporting India in its fight against terrorism and because of that my government decided to directly call our ambassador to go back home, not to be Palestine ambassador to Pakistan anymore,” Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haij said, according to news agency IANS.
The Palestine action came after its envoy Waleed Abu Ali shared the stage with Saeed, accused by India and US of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks, at a rally in Rawalpindi on Friday.
After photographs of the event went viral on social media, India took up the issue strongly with the Palestinian authorities.
“Government of India has strongly conveyed to the Palestinian side that the Palestinian Ambassador in Pakistan’s association with terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who is proscribed by the United Nations, at an event in Rawalpindi on December 12, is unacceptable,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
“The 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,” it said.
“The Palestinian side has conveyed deep regrets over the incident and assured the Government of India that they are taking serious cognizance of their Ambassador’s presence at this event. They have said they will deal with this matter appropriately.”
According to a report in Pakistan’s The Nation daily, the Rawalpindi central leadership of Difa-e-Pakistan-Council has announced a countrywide movement for the liberation of Kashmir and Palestine.
The report quoted envoy Ali as saying that “with Pakistan’s tremendous support to Palestine cause, we do not feel alone”.
The action of the Palestinian envoy in Pakistan came days after India voted with the rest of the world in favour of an Arab resolution in the UN General Assembly rejecting US President Donald Trump’s decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
According to the External Affairs Ministry statement, Palestine has also conveyed that it “highly values its relationship with India and stands with us in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India”.
“We take note of the assurances given by the Palestine side,” the statement added.