Palestinians recall envoy after rally with radical Pakistan cleric

Hafiz Saeed, the head of the hard-line Jamaat-ud-Dawa movement, addresses an anti-US and Israel an earlier rally in Lahore on December 17. (AFP)
Updated 31 December 2017
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Palestinians recall envoy after rally with radical Pakistan cleric

ISLAMABAD: The Palestinians have withdrawn their envoy to Pakistan after he appeared at a rally with a radical cleric linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Palestinian envoy Walid Abu Ali shared the stage with Hafiz Saeed, the head of the hard-line Jamaat-ud-Dawa movement, at Friday’s rally, which was held to protest US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The rally in Rawalpindi, attended by thousands, was organized by the Defense of Pakistan Council, an alliance of religious parties dominated by Saeed’s group. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for Lashker-e-Taiba, a militant group that fights Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir, and which was blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people.
Saeed, the founder of Lashker-e-Taiba, is wanted by the US, which has offered a $10 million reward for his arrest, but Pakistan has refused extradition requests and allows him to operate relatively freely. He was recently placed under house arrest for 11 months but was released after a court ruled in his favor.
Saeed denies involvement in the 2008 attacks, and Pakistan says India has not provided enough evidence to charge him. US officials have long accused Pakistan of harboring extremists, allegations denied by Islamabad.
In a statement Saturday addressed to India, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the envoy’s participation “in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism” was “an unintended mistake, but not justified.” It said the envoy has been recalled.
India had lodged a protest with the Palestinians earlier Saturday, calling the envoy’s association with Saeed “unacceptable.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry defended the envoy, saying it welcomed his “active participation in events organized to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.”
Near-daily rallies have been held in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month, a move seen as siding with the Jewish state against the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.


Turkish justice minister: Public should ‘ignore leaks’ regarding Khashoggi case

Updated 18 October 2018
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Turkish justice minister: Public should ‘ignore leaks’ regarding Khashoggi case

LONDON: Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul called on the public to ignore any information that had been leaked in the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s case, Al-Arabiya English reported Thursday.
Gul also said that the case of Jamal Khashoggi is being “thoroughly” investigated and “results are expected to come out soon.”
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman previously addressed the “malicious leaks and grim rumors flying around about Jamal’s whereabouts and fate” last week. Prince Khalid said rumors that the “Kingdom’s authorities have detained” Khashoggi or “killed him are absolutely false, and baseless.”
President Donald Trump criticized Tuesday the rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the mystery of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and warned against a rush to judge. “I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said.
After a telephone conversation with King Salman on Monday in which US President Donald Trump discussed the joint investigation by the Kingdom and Turkey into Khashoggi’s disappearance, Trump said that the Saudi journalist may have been killed by “rogue killers.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who lived in the US, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to complete paperwork related to his divorce. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have set up a joint team to investigate the disappearance.