The prime minister of Pakistan is facing a social media furore for allegedly disrespecting the king of Saudi Arabia when the two leaders met for the Arab nation’s OIC summit in Mecca.
Imran Khan was filmed walking the elaborate red carpet to meet King Salman, following a brief handshake and greeting. However, it appeared from the footage that the Pakistani PM spoke directly to the monarch’s translator rather than addressing the royal himself.
— Saudi Gazette (@Saudi_Gazette) May 31, 2019
Khan can be seen pointing and gesticulating as he speaks to the translator before walking away, apparently without giving King Salman the opportunity to respond.
Social media users took to Twitter to express their fury over the “disrespectful” and “insulting” encounter, with some calling for Pakistan to prioritize diplomacy skills when next choosing their leader.
Someone should teach little bit ethics of Diplomacy to this man.
Meanwhile, it is heard that the Saudi king has cancelled meeting with Imran Khan because of his nonsensical attitude.
I though wish that it’s just a rumour since we have to beg a lot more
— Shama Junejo (@ShamaJunejo) June 1, 2019
This is beyond insulting. PM Imran Khan enters, says something to King Salman, walks out casually before the interpreter translates and the King responds.
I'd suggest the "selection committee" to teach diplomatic manners when they select PM of Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/ACIJpFzZeF
— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) June 1, 2019
Imran Khan said something to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, walked out and left the interpreter to translate for the King.
This is a hilarious sight. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RkllQDJH0r
— Amna (@AmnaSuleiman) May 31, 2019
Claims on Twitter that bilateral meetings between the leaders were canceled as a result of the monarch’s displeasure at the odd greeting appear unfounded, however, as Khan later met with the king and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud before delivering an address at the summit.
He criticized some Western states for their Islamophobia and called on them to “differentiate between moderate Muslims and extremist Muslims,” Dawn reports.