Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has come under fire on social media over a perceived "breach of protocol" during a meeting with the Saudi monarch.
Last Friday, Saudi King Salman hosted a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Mecca.
Imran Khan was among those present, and footage from the venue showed him walk the red carpet to meet the king, who was standing alongside an interpreter.
Imran Khan said something to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, walked out and left the interpreter to translate for the King.— Amna (@AmnaSuleiman) 31 мая 2019 г.
This is a hilarious sight. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/RkllQDJH0r
After a brief handshake and greeting, Imran Khan appeared to speak directly to the aide rather than address the king himself, actively gesticulating and pointing his finger at the interpreter.
The PM was then filmed walking away, as the monarch was still hearing out the translation.
This exchange irked quite a number of people on social media, who claimed that Khan lacked diplomatic manners.
This is beyond insulting. PM Imran Khan enters, says something to King Salman, walks out casually before the interpreter translates and the King responds.— Naila Inayat नायला इनायत (@nailainayat) 1 июня 2019 г.
I'd suggest the "selection committee" to teach diplomatic manners when they select PM of Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/ACIJpFzZeF
Cultural diplomacy lessons needed. https://t.co/IqWNhlVtf8— Laween Atroshi (@laweenatroshi) 2 июня 2019 г.
"Someone should teach [a] little bit [of] ethics of diplomacy to this man", tweeted Pakistani political scientist and columnist Shama Junejo, adding that Khan "broke the protocol".
She went on to claim that King Salman cancelled a meeting with Khan because of what she called his "nonsensical attitude".
Another user alleged that the Saudi government viewed Khan's behaviour as "disgusting" and snubbed the meeting, but this speculation turned out to be ungrounded.
Khan later met with the king and Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman on the margins of the summit, thanking the kingdom for extending an oil facility to Pakistan against deferred payments, which he described as "timely support".
Some commentators were in hand to defend Khan, saying that he rushed out to give way to other dignitaries waiting to greet the king.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Pakistan as part of his Asia tour in February. Back then, he pledged to invest as much as $20 billion in the crash-strapped country, teasing that it was only "phase 1" of a series of investments.