The Friday Times weekly magazine published in Pakistan has claimed that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was so “alienated” with “some dimensions” of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s actions on the sidelines of the UNGA session in New York last month, that he ordered his “private jet to disembowel (sic) the Pakistani delegation” from midway.
Before attending the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Imran Khan had first visited Saudi Arabia. While departing for New York after his meeting with Saudi Prince in Jeddah, Salman reportedly stopped Imran Khan and his delegates from embarking a commercial flight to the US and asked him to fly on board his private jet as he could not let his guest travel in a commercial plane, Pakistani media reports had said.
However, Khan on his way back to Islamabad from New York on September 28 had returned in a commercial flight. It was reported then that the Saudi plane developed a technical glitch following which the Prime Minister and his delegation returned to New York from the airport and then took a commercial flight back to Pakistan.
This claim was refuted by the Pakistani magazine. In its article published on October 4, it said: “The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, was so ‘alienated’ by some dimensions of the Pakistani Prime Minister’s diplomacy in New York – he couldn’t have been happy at the prospect of Imran Khan, (Turkish President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan and (Malaysian Prime Minister) Mahathir Mohammad planning to jointly represent the Islamic bloc, nor with Pakistan’s interlocution with Iran without his explicit approval…he visibly snubbed Imran by ordering his private jet to disembowel (sic) the Pakistani delegation…”
The report was strongly critical of the Pakistani PM for making the territorial conflict between two countries as the “clash of fierce ideologies representing the ‘Islamic’ Pakistan and ‘Hindu’ India”.
The 74th UNGA session was nothing but a brew of bloopers and blunders for the Pakistani Prime Minister. On the sidelines of the UNGA, the Pakistani Prime Minister had met the Turkish President, Erdogan and Mahathir Mohammad, his Malaysian counterpart, and decided to launch a BBC type English language TV Channel, which apart from highlighting Muslim issues, would also fight Islamophobia.
Moreover, during the UNGA Imran Khan had announced that he was working to mediate with Iran to defuse the tensions in the Gulf at the request of both US President Donald Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince.
Reacting to the Friday Times article, a Pakistani government spokesperson rubbished the claims on Sunday: “This is a cooked up story. The leaders of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have good relations. The conclusion of Khan’s meeting with the Turkish and Malay leaders is pure fiction. The report is aimed at political vendetta. We dismiss this report,” the spokesman added.