Royal snub: Saudi Prince recalls his special jet flying Imran Khan mid-way

A Lahore-based weekly magazine claimed that Khan's actions at UNGA miffed Mohammad Bin Salman

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 18, 2019 (Xinhua) — Photo released by Pakistani Press Information Department (PID) on Feb. 18, 2019 shows Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (R) meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2019. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud arrived in Pakistan on Sunday on a two-day official visit on bilateral and regional issues, with focuses on investment and economic cooperation. (Xinhua/PID/IANS)

Islamabad (Rahnuma): Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was so upset by some actions of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York that he reportedly “snubbed” him by ordering his private jet to “disembowel” the Pakistani delegation.

Prince Salman gave Prime minister Khan his private jet to travel to the US on a week-long visit and to attend the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last month. Khan went to Riyadh and held talks with the Crown Prince first before leaving for the US.

It was reported that the special jet developed a “technical glitch” as Khan was returning to Islamabad from New York on September 28, forcing the Prime Minister and his delegation to return to New York and then take a commercial flight back to Pakistan.

However, according to a report in weekly newspaper ‘The Friday Times’, the Crown Prince recalled the plane as he was unhappy with some of Khan’s actions.

“Inexplicably, 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, Recip Tayyib Erdogan and Mahathir Mohammad planning to jointly represent the Islamic bloc, nor with Pakistan’s interlocution with Iran without his explicit approval — that he visibly snubbed Imran by ordering his private jet to disembowel the Pakistani delegation,” says the editorial written by veteran journalist Najam Sethi.

Pakistan, however, has categorically dismissed as “utter fabrication” the report published in the newspaper.

“It is totally false and absolutely carries no truth whatsoever,” a government spokesman said in a statement issued here on Sunday.

The report published on Friday also claimed that Khan’s trip also had “some unintended consequences”.

During their visit to New York, the leaders of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia had decided to launch a BBC-type English television channel to highlight the issues of Muslims and fight Islamophobia in the West.

“We felt that many reports about Islam and Muslims were inaccurate, and do not portray what Islam preaches. They label Muslims as terrorists for example, and the world accepts it as the truth when Islam is not a violent religion. We feel there must be an effort to explain what Islam is so that there is no confusion and it won’t be accused of being a religion that promotes terrorism,” the Malaysian prime minister tweeted.

Khan said last month that US President Donald Trump had asked him to mediate with Iran to defuse tensions in the region.

He met Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly session, before which he met Crown Prince Salman in Saudi Arabia, whom he said had made the same request.

Reacting to the write-up, the government official said the report carried “baseless self-created theory with respect to the premier’s meetings with the leaders of Turkey and Malaysia in New York”.

The government spokesman clarified that Islamabad and Riyadh enjoyed “most cordial and brotherly relations”.

“Only people with vested interests would come up with such concocted and baseless assertions,” he was quoted as saying by ‘The Express Tribune’.

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