Palestine recalls envoy from Pakistan for attending a rally also addressed by Hafiz Saeed

Islamabad: Pakistan’s pro-Palestine Islamists received a serious blow-back when the Palestine government recalled its Ambassador to Pakistan following an official protest from India for the envoy’s participation in an Al Quds Rally that was addressed by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

Hafiz Saeed is accused by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and India on December 29 lodged a strong protest with the Palestine Mission for the Palestinian Ambassador to Pakistan Walid Abu Ali’s presence at the rally.

On December 28, Islamic alliance Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) held a massive rally in Rawalpindi in an apparent show of strength by Islamists and in opposition to US President Donald Trumps’ decision to accept occupied Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The rally was addressed by several Pakistani Islamists including DPC chief Maulana Samiul Haq and Abu Ali to assure continued struggle for the freedom of Kashmir and Palestine.

Abu Ali, a popular figure in Pakistan, vowed that “as long as Pakistan is with Palestine, Palestinians would not feel isolated and weak”. He also called occupied Jerusalem the “door to Jannah [heaven]” and stressed that “no power can snatch Jerusalem from us”.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and other Islamic party leaders also addressed the Rawalpindi meeting and vowed to free Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir as well as Israeli-occupied Palestinian land.

Palestinian envoy’s pictures with Hafiz Saeed in the media were noticed in New Delhi. In a surprising diplomatic move, the Indian government summoned the Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi to protest about the happenings, media reports in Pakistan said. After the protest, Palestine recalled its envoy to Pakistan.

The move by the Palestine government has severely disappointed Pakistani Islamists, who often consider Israel as an arch enemy and Palestine an ally.

When asked to comment on the issue, a local DPC leader, Mohammad Salman, told Gulf News: “We are extremely disappointed by the Palestine government[’s] decision to recall the ambassador, and Pakistanis are highly upset to hear that Palestine has given in to Indian pressure at a time when India is re-aligning its strategy with [the] Jewish state”.

Talking to Gulf News, Abdul Aziz Abid, Secretary Information of Jamaat-e-Islami Lahore, said: “We strongly condemn the action by [the] Palestinian government to recall its ambassador at a time when Pakistan is fully supporting [the] Palestinian and Arab cause.” He also called the move condemnable at a time when the Israeli Prime Minister is about to visit to India.

When this Gulf News correspondent contacted the Palestine Embassy in Islamabad for comment, no one was ready to speak on the issue.

It is important to recall that following US President Donald Trump decision on occupied Jerusalem — to acknowledge it as the capital of Israel — the Palestinian Ambassador had sought a meeting with the Pakistani Army chief, which was granted immediately. On December 12, 2017, Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met the Palestine envoy and assured Pakistan’s moral and political support to his country. General Bajwa had “reassured the ambassador that Pakistan views the unresolved Palestine issue [on a] par with the Kashmir issue,” a Pakistan Army statement issued after the meeting said.