India to 'Strongly' Take Up Presence of Palestinian Envoy With Hafiz Saeed at Jerusalem Rally

Walid Abu Ali and Saeed both attended and spoke at a rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan council) on Friday.

New Delhi:After Palestine’s ambassador to Pakistan took part in a Jerusalem-related rally along with 26/11 terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, India on Friday said  it will “strongly” register a protest with the Palestinian representative in Delhi and authorities in Ramallah.

“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,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement on Friday night.

Palestinian envoy Walid Abu Ali attended a rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan council), a coalition of Islamist groups in Rawalpindi on Friday. He addressed the rally, through a translator, citing arguments for the rights of Palestine on the key holy sites in East Jerusalem. Saeed also spoke at the rally and demanded that Pakistan should convene a conference of all Islamic countries to shape a global strategy to counter the American move.

By late evening, photographs of the envoy sharing a dais with Hafiz Saeed had gone viral on Indian social media.

India’s ire is, perhaps, more pronounced as New Delhi had voted along with 127 other countries last week in favour of a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly that implicitly called on the US to withdraw its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israeli capital.

The UNGA vote on December 21 had led to some criticism from within the ruling party and parivar, especially from those who had wanted India to be more supportive of Israel. The Israeli government had sent a protest to India through diplomatic channels.

India’s official statement on President Donald Trump’s decision had been muted. “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country,” said Kumar on December 7.

The presence of the Palestinian ambassador at the Friday rally was however not the first time that he has taken part in an event related to Palestine organised by Hafez Saeed.

On December 14, one week before India’s vote on Jerusalem.at the UN, Walid Abu Ali took part in and spoke at a conference on Jerusalem organised by the DPC.



Pakistani media reports from 2014 show that Abu Ali had also addressed by phone a rally chaired by the JuD chief on Palestine. In his address to the Lahore rally by phone, the Palestinian envoy had apparently appreciated Saeed’s effort in highlighting the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian ambassador to India AMJ Abualhayjaa had indicated that the Indian premier will be visiting Palestine this year. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Israel this summer, he had specifically skipped Palestine. But, India had mollified Ramallah by inviting the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to Delhi before PM Modi went to Israel.