Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), at United Nations on Sep 27, 2019.IANS

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's plane was rerouted in the US on orders from Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, according to claims made by a Pakistani magazine.

Friday Times claimed that the Saudi Prince ordered to reroute the plane carrying Khan and his team on September 28 after the Prime Minister's US tour concluded with his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Criticising Pakistan's "victory at the UN", the magazine revealed that the Saudi Prince disapproved of Khan administration's rhetoric of representing the Islamic bloc and talks with Iran at the United Nations assembly. 

"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," the article read. 

"Pakistan's interlocution with Iran without his explicit approval" was also cited as one of the reasons behind the Prince's "visible snub".

Khan, who had visited Saudi Arabia before his US visit, had requested MSB for a corporate plane to fly to the US.  However, the prince had provided him with his personal plane instead. 

After the Saudi private plane carrying Khan and his team had taken off, the flight was rerouted from Toronto and made an emergency landing in New York reporting a "technical glitch".

The magazine claimed that the glitch was made to deter him from flying in the special plane as the Prime minister boarded a corporate plane on his way back to Pakistan.

Maleeha Lodhi Pakistan UN representative
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Maleeha Lodhi.Twitter

It also claimed that the recent reshuffle in Pakistan's delegations team was also related to the crown prince's disapproval. 

Pakistan removed its Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi last week and replaced her with Munir Akram. The appointment came as a surprise as she was reportedly praised by officials for successfully managing Prime Minister Imran Khan's New York visit.

Pakistan's dismissal

Islamabad rebuffed the claims stating that the article was "cooked". "Pakistan and Saudi Arab leaders have good relations. There is an attempt to weaken the successful talks between the world leader and the Prime Minister. Conclusion over the Prime Minister's meeting with Turkey and Malaysia leader was self-made. The report was aimed to strike on the relations of two countries for political motives. We dismiss this report", a spokesperson was quoted as saying by IANS.

The article stated that while Pakistan called the US visit a success by speaking about climate change, Islamophobia, safe space for money laundering and the Kashmir lockdown, the delivery of it was flawed.

Issues such as Pakistan admitting its support to Al Qaeda, pro-nuclear weapon rhetoric and threatening the US was severely flawed and "raised the world's hackles". It goes on to say that despite the speech, the Kashmir issue persists with the possibilities of an Indo-Pak dialogue dimmer than before.