Imran Khan had to take commercial flight from New York for home

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NEW YORK: Prime Minister Imran Khan had to depart for Riyadh by a commercial flight on his way back to Pakistan on Saturday afternoon after his special plane had to turn back to New York with a technical fault last evening.

The prime minister, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, was seen off at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi.

On Friday evening, technicians tried but could not fix the problem in the special plane, which was placed at his disposal by the Saudi government, after it landed back in New York.

Officials said it was then decided to return to Roosevelt Hotel where the prime minister had been staying during his seven-day visit to New York, and to take a regular Saudi Airlines flight Saturday morning for his return journey, as he was anxious to visit the earthquake-hit areas and families of the victims.

During his ‘Mission Kashmir’ visit to New York as the head of Pakistan’s delegation to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, the prime minister addressed the 193-member assembly, and attended special UN summit meetings. He also met a number of world leaders on the sidelines of the session, including US President Donald Trump, addressed think-tanks, and interacted with international media during his visit.