Pakistan Monday dismissed a report that claimed that its Prime Minister Imran Khan had to take a commercial flight back home from New York after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered his “private jet to disembowel the Pakistani delegation” following Khan’s speech at the 74th UN General Assembly session last month.
The Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaaf (PTI) government has dismissed as “utter fabrication” an editorial published in the Friday Times weekly magazine that claims the Saudi prince snubbed Khan over “some dimensions of Khan’s diplomacy in New York”.
It was earlier reported that while returning to Pakistan, Khan and his delegation were forced to return to New York after the special jet given to him by the Saudi government developed a technical fault while heading to Islamabad. He then took a commercial flight back to Pakistan. Khan had arrived at the United States on a “special aircraft” of the Saudi prince who had called him his “special guest”.
“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.
During their visit to New York, the leaders of Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia had also decided to launch a BBC-type English television channel to highlight the issues of Muslims and fight Islamophobia in the West. The editorial published on Friday also claimed that Khan’s trip had “some unintended consequences”.
“It is totally false and absolutely carries no truth whatsoever,” a Pakistan government spokesman said in a statement quoted by The Express Tribune. 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 said.
The Pakistan Prime Minister had held talks with the Crown Prince in Riyadh first before leaving for the US last month. There, Prince Salman offered Khan his private jet to travel on the week-long visit and to attend the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
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