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PUC chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that he had asked Palestine to bring back Walid Abu Ali – who will return to Pakistan & join duties from Wednesday.

Days after calling back its ambassador to Pakistan – Walid Abu Ali – for sharing the stage with UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, Palestine on Sunday reinstated its ambassador – describing the incident as an “unintended mistake”, though “not justified”.

Speaking to the Geo News in Islamabad, Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that he had asked Palestine to bring back Walid Abu Ali – who will return to Pakistan and join duties from Wednesday.

Earlier in December last year, the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan was called back immediately after he was spotted sharing the stage with 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, during an event in Rawalpindi organized to express solidarity with Jerusalem.

Terming the incident as “deeply regrettable”, a statement from the Palestinian Authority (PA) said, “On the basis of the principled and firm Palestinian position, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates considered the participation of our Ambassador in Pakistan in a mass rally in solidarity with Jerusalem, held in Rawalpindi on Friday and in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified.”

Strongly condemning the Palestinian ambassadors act and calling it “unacceptable”, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “The government has strongly conveyed to the Palestinian side that the Palestinian Ambassador’s association with terrorist Hafiz Saeed, who is proscribed by the United Nations, at an event in Rawalpindi on December 29 is unacceptable.”

However, defending Hafiz Saeed’s participation in the pro-Palestine rally, Pakistan said that the JuD chief’s UN proscription does not place any restrictions on the freedom of expression. Further stating that Islamabad’s strong support to the Palestinian cause is well-known, the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) in a statement mentioned that several rallies had been held in the country since the United States declared to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The Ambassador of Palestine has participated in many of these meetings. The public meeting held yesterday was yet another demonstration of the Pakistani strong sentiments in support of the Palestinian cause. This public rally was attended by thousands of people from all walks of life. More than 50 speakers addressed the rally, including Hafiz Saeed. Contrary to the impression being created, UN proscription does not place any restrictions on the freedom of expression,” read the FO statement.

“The people and Government of Pakistan respect the Palestinian Ambassador’s active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine,” it added.

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