Shehbaz Sharif met Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Uzbekistan.

In an awkward turn of events, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s failed attempt to put on his helmet prompted a laugh from Russian President Vladimir Putin as they met on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan yesterday.

The device fell from Mr. Sharif’s ears during their talks in Samarkand where the 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is taking place. This sparked an eventual, audible laugh from Putin.

Initially, the Pakistani prime minister was slow to repair his helmet and asked an official to help him as Putin waited for the dialogue to begin. But as they were about to begin their meeting, it fell from his ears, and the Russian president could not control a suppressed but audible laugh.

Mr Sharif has been the subject of criticism on social media, with workers from the party of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan saying the incident was an “embarrassment” for the country.

It is the SCO’s first in-person summit in two years, shaking Covid fears. Attending are the leaders of eight member countries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who reached Samarkand last night.

During their meeting, Putin told Mr. Sharif that Russia could supply gas to Pakistan because the necessary infrastructure was already there. Russia and Pakistan have other very interesting and ambitious projects, especially in the energy sector, Putin told the PTI news agency.