Pak defends Hafiz, envoy's presence in pro-Palestinian rally

Elias Hubbard
December 31, 2017

The Palestinian government have recalled its ambassador to Pakistan, for sharing the stage with the 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed.

Palestinian envoy Walid Abu Ali shared the stage with Hafiz Saeed, the head of the hardline Jamaat-ud-Dawa movement, at Friday's rally, which was held to protest USA recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

India's Secretary (economic relations) Vijay Gokhale in the external affairs ministry called Palestinian ambassador here Adnan Abu Al Haija to the South Block after which the ministry said, "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". According to reports, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition of hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan that campaigns aggressively against India and the USA is understood to have held a show of strength in Rawalpindi's Liaqat Bagh on Friday.Interestingly the controversy comes days after India nearly snubbed the United States and joined rest of 128 countries to vote in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution rejecting U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The report quoted Ali as saying that "with Pakistan's tremendous support to Palestine cause, we do not feel alone".

The rally was organised by the Defence of Pakistan Council, an alliance of Islamist groups including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) headed by Hafiz Saeed.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said the rally was attended by thousands of people from all walks of life and more than 50 speakers addressed the meeting, including Saeed. "Contrary to the impression being created, United Nations proscription does not place any restrictions on the freedom of expression", the FO said.

"The people and Government of Pakistan respect the Palestinian AmbassadorÂ's active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine", it said.

Saeed denies involvement in the Mumbai attacks and Pakistan says there is not enough evidence to charge him.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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