Palestine's envoy to Pak recalled after row over Hafiz Saeed

ANI | Updated: Dec 30, 2017 19:46 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 30 (ANI): Palestine on Saturday called back its Ambassador in Pakistan after he was seen in the company of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed.

"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 and not to be a Palestine ambassador to Pakistan anymore," Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija told ANI.

His statement has come after a photograph of Palestine's Pakistan envoy Waleed Abu Ali sharing a platform with Saeed, who is designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations, at a rally in Rawalpindi is doing the rounds on the social media.

"Our Ambassador does not know this person. When he starts speaking, he asks who is this person? Our Ambassador's speech was after him, he made his speech and left. For us, even with that, it is not accepted and a decision has been taken," he clarified.

Saeed is accused of masterminding the Mumbai 26/11 attacks that claimed 166 lives.

Speaking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to the country, Haija said, "Mr Modi is a great guest to Palestine, we welcome him there. I hope soon he will visit Palestine, waiting for his visit,"

Earlier today, Palestine expressed deep regret after India took up the matter with its authorities.

"Palestine 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," said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement.

The Government of India has strongly conveyed to the Palestinian side that the Palestinian Ambassador in Pakistan's association with terrorist Saeed is "unacceptable", it added.

The MEA has conveyed the concerns to Haija as well as to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in Ramallah, State of Palestine.

Palestine has also assured India that it will deal with this matter appropriately.

"It was also conveyed that Palestine 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," the MEA said.

Saeed carries a bounty of 10 million USD (approx. Rs 66 crore) and continues to exercise a lot of influence in religious circles.

He has recently been released from house arrest after a Pakistani court cited lack of evidence against him in the Mumbai attack case.

India has protested against Pakistan time and again for 'harbouring a terrorist' like Saeed. (ANI)