Tahir Ashrafi says Palestine has reinstated ambassador to Pakistan

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LAHORE: Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairman Maulana Tahir Ashrafi has said that Palestine has reinstated its ambassador to Pakistan after he was recalled for attending a rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) to protest the US decision on Jerusalem.

Talking to a private TV channel on Sunday, the PUC chairman said that he had requested Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the country’s chief justice to reinstate Walid Abu Ali, in view of the ambassador’s services rendered to Pakistan.

“The Palestinian president has reinstated Ambassador Walid Abu Ali and he will return to Pakistan on Wednesday to resume his duty,” Ashrafi said.

Walid was recalled for violating diplomatic norms by attending a mass DPC rally held in the garrison city of Rawalpindi last week to protest the US decision of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants had issued a statement saying, “The ministry considered the participation of our ambassador in Pakistan in a mass solidarity rally with Jerusalem held in Rawalpindi on Friday and in the presence of people accused of terrorism as an unintended mistake but not justified. Accordingly, the ministry decided directly, from the sovereignty of the president of the state of Palestine, to summon the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan immediately.”

Speculations had been rife at the Diplomatic Enclave that the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan was recalled after he was seen rubbing shoulders with the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, declared as a terrorist by the United Nations, at the rally.

On the other hand, Palestinian authorities on Sunday strongly denied all reports regarding reinstatement of Walid Abu Ali as Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan.

According to a Palestinian official, “The former ambassador to Pakistan is presently in Palestine and our official stance on this issue has also been made clear through an official statement last week.”

Interestingly, Tahir Ashrafi’s claim was also refuted by the Pakistan Foreign Office. An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that they were unaware of any such development taking place on the Palestinian side.