Waleed Abu Ali, the Palestine envoy to Pakistan was recalled after he was seen at an event in which Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Saeed was present. It was a matter to which India reacted angrily especially after it had voted in favour of Palestine on the issue of Jerusalem.
Being seen as a proscribed terrorist, Saeed at an event was nothing short of unacceptable to India. After India issued a demarche, Ali was recalled by Palestine. It was an unintended mistake, Palestine said while also adding that it was not justified. There were also statements that Ali was not aware of Saeed.
These statements by Palestine look like an eyewash. First and foremost, one must remember that Ali has been in Pakistan for two years and was a very popular diplomat. Being in Pakistan for so long and not knowing who Hafiz Saeed is in itself strange.
The next points one must ponder over is that the invite for the event to show solidarity with Palestine on the Jerusalem issue was extended by the Difa-e-Pakistan. Hafiz Saeed's Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a constituent of the DeP which is an umbrella group comprising anti-India and US groups.
The Difa-e-Pakistan has groups such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat which have been banned twice. Further, the umbrella outfit is headed by Sami-ul-Haq, a man very close to the Taliban. When he had contested the elections, he had said his only agenda was to train Muslim youth to wage Jihad.
Officials in India say that it is hard to believe that Ali did not know who Saeed was or what event he was attending. Ali has been a popular diplomat in Pakistan for a long time and not knowing the nature of the Difa-e-Pakistan is a bit hard to believe. It appears as though the reaction from Palestine was knee-jerk. They have been desperately wanting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit them and had they not acted against Ali, there was every chance that the February visit would have been cancelled, officials further said.