Palestine recognizing Hafiz Saeed as prominent figure raises concern for India

Hafiz Saeed

The ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan sharing a stage with Hafiz Saeed, the co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which was responsible for the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which over 160 people were killed, indicate an alliance of like minded countries, leaders and terror groups after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital.

Walid Abu Ali, the Palestinian envoy attended a Difa-e-Pakistan Council’s a rally in Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

This dangerous development assumed much significance as Difah-e-Pakistan Council is an umbrella group of 40 religious and extremist groups in Pakistan, led by JuD chief, Hafiz Saeed (banned global terrorist by the UN).

Trump’s decision of acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital will certainly bring an upheaval in Asia with serious implications. Saeed’s rally was specifically called for an “Islamic summit” to defend Jerusalem from Israel. Saeed, who is known for issuing hate speeches against India has stated “I will fight the case of Kashmiris. I will gather the people from across the country for the cause of Kashmir. And we will try to help Kashmiris get their destination of freedom.”

Moreover, recently Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose mission is to establish himself as a Caliphate and regain the status of Ottoman empire, argued for a multilateral dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue and said “We should not allow more casualties to occur (in Kashmir). By having a multilateral dialogue, (in which) we can be involved, we can seek ways to settle the issue once and for all.”

All these coalition of leaders joining hands for Muslim cause for Kashmir and Jerusalem point to a situation with worrisome consequences for India.

Meanwhile, India had virtually rejected Erdogan’s suggestion and has issued a demarche to the Palestinian Ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities for an explanation.

Even Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf has termed himself the “biggest supporter” of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its founder Hafiz Saeed and asserted that he backs the terror group’s involvement in Kashmir and “suppressing” the Indian Army in the valley.

The same views were made by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif at the Asia Society in New York who said “Don’t blame us for the Haqqanis [the Haqqani Network] and don’t blame us for the Hafiz Saeed, chief of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa. These were the people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House, and now, you say “go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people.”

Hafiz Saeed, who carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the US for his involvement in terror activities,has been seeking to enter into mainstream politics and floated Milli Muslim League as Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)’s new political outfit.

MML President Saifullah Khalid had declared that it will contest 2018 general elections and vowed to implement the ideology of Pakistan in accordance with the 1973 Constitution and the vision of Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal by joining hands with like-minded parties.

Ensuring that Hafiz Saeed will also play a role in Pakistan politics and his designation by U.S. as a global terrorist would be no bar to a top job in the party,Khaled had said “We declare our [platform] to be for the change in the ideology of Pakistan,We plan to make Pakistan a real Islamic state.”

India joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital which was in sync with Palestinian sentiments.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj stated that India’s Palestine position was independent and consistent and had been the same as path to Israel-Jerusalem peace clearly lay in an early negotiated solution between Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.

After Musharraf, Palestine Ambassador has provided the much needed support to Hafiz Saeed by meeting him as a political figure, which has emerged as a grave concern for India.

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By: Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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