Palestinian envoy in Pakistan shares stage with JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, angers India

Hours after the photographs of Ali with Saeed surfaced on social media, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that New Delhi would take up the matter “strongly” with the Palestinian government.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: December 30, 2017 10:04 am
Palestinian envoy in Pakistan shares stage with JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, angers India The rally was organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan that campaigns aggressively against India and the United States, in Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh on Friday. (Reuters)

Eight days after India voted against US President Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestinian envoy to Pakistan, Waleed Abu Ali, shared the stage with Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief, Hafiz Saeed, at a rally in Rawalpindi on Friday. Hours after the photographs of Ali with Saeed surfaced on social media, Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that New Delhi would take up the matter “strongly” with the Palestinian government. “We have seen reports in this regard. We are taking up the matter strongly with the Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities,” he said.

The rally was organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan that campaigns aggressively against India and the United States, in Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh on Friday. Incidentally, this is the same place where former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto addressed her last public rally on December 27, 2007.

Saeed used the occasion to deliver an anti-India and anti-US speech, with references to Kashmir and Israel. Declared a global terrorist by the US State Department, Saeed carries a bounty of $10 million on his head. More importantly, he is wanted by India on charges of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. While he was arrested by Pakistani authorities early this year, he was let off recently by a court there.

The presence of the Palestinian envoy at the rally comes at a time when New Delhi and Ramallah are discussing a likely visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Palestine in February next year. If it takes place, this will be Modi’s first visit to Palestine — he skipped visiting the country during his Israel visit in July. However, he hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in May this year. 26/11’s Baby Moshe, Benjamin Netanyahu to visit in January, PM Modi looks at a stop in Palestine

Ali, according to Indian government sources, had, in October-end, held a farewell reception for the outgoing Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale, who left for Beijing. In early December, he met Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi. Ali’s presence at the rally has disappointed many in New Delhi, since it comes just days after India voted in favour of Palestine at the United Nations. Delhi voted with the Arab world, and majority, at the UN General Assembly, a vote seen as in favour of Palestine.

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  1. John Spamous
    Dec 30, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    “A scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river. The frog hesitates, afraid of being stung, but the scorpion argues that if it did so, they would both drown. Considering this, the frog agrees, but midway across the river the scorpion does indeed sting the frog, dooming them both.” Should Indians learn from this story?
    (11)(0)
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    1. Prasann Singh
      Dec 30, 2017 at 3:29 pm
      BJP should thank Palestine envoy to Pakistan. That it polarised hindu vote for BJP for next elections. Politics at its par excellence. Islamic centre of power is slowly shifting from Saudia to Turkey.
      (0)(0)
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      1. Brigadier Gen
        Dec 30, 2017 at 2:17 pm
        But for Israel, casualties of our Jawans would have been higher and higher during Kargil war. Almost all countries backed out when help was required.
        (5)(0)
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        1. Siva Ram Prasad Mangu
          Dec 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm
          Though India never acted against the Arab world cause including Palestine, the Arabs always let down India and acted against its interests in international fora. It is time India acts in its own national interst while espousing the Arab cause.
          (4)(0)
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          1. Nitin Chandrasekhar
            Dec 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm
            Shame on Modi Government to backstab the Israelis who are our most reliable and trustworthy strategic partners. Just like the economic front, Modi proved himself as a copycat of the corrupt congress policies. We need a bold secular commited and visionary leader like Subramanyan Swamy.
            (10)(1)
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