Footage showed the Pakistani premier walking the red carpet to meet King Salman. After a brief handshake and greeting, Imran Khan spoke directly to the king’s interpreter rather than addressing the monarch himself.
Khan then was filmed pointing and gesticulating while he was addressing the translator before walking away casually, apparently without waiting to hear the royal’s reply.
Unconfirmed reports said the Saudi government had protested to Pakistan at the highest level and described the conduct of Prime Minister Khan as a violation of the ceremonial protocol.
The Saudi crown prince visited the cash-strapped Pakistan in February where he received a lavish welcome.
During the visit, the two countries inked several agreements in diverse sectors worth as much as $20 billion for Pakistan.
The Mecca reception tiff is the latest embarrassment for Saudi rulers who had hoped to use the hastily-arranged summits in Mecca and Jeddah to send a concerted message to Iran.
On Thursday, Iraqi President Barham Salih opposed a Saudi-drafted final statement which accused Iran of “interference” in regional countries.
The Syrian government also rejected the final OIC statement, describing the presence of Iranian military advisers in the country as “legitimate and lawful.”
Qatar said on Sunday it opposed the concluding hardline statements on Iran, saying they “were ready in advance and we were not consulted on them.”
“The statements condemned Iran but did not refer to a moderate policy to speak with Tehran,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.
“They adopted Washington policy towards Iran, rather than a policy that puts neighborhood with Iran into consideration,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed also said, “The Mecca summit ignored the important issues in the region, such as the Palestine issue and the war in Libya and Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia and the UAE hit back at Qatar on Monday, accusing Doha of “backtracking” on the summits’ conclusions.
“Countries… during summits announce their positions and reservations in the meetings according to customs and not after the meetings,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said.
“Seems to me that attendance and agreement in meetings and then backtracking on what was decided on is (a result of) pressure on the weak that lack sovereignty or have ill intentions or lack credibility, and it might be all these factors,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, said.
Qatar is the subject of a two-year Saudi-led economic embargo including bans on direct air, land and sea travel between the boycotting nations and Qatar, as well as sanctions.
Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani attended the summits, becoming the most senior Qatari official to visit the kingdom since the boycott on Doha in 2017.