06/25/2022

AFP Fact-Checks PM Shehbaz Sharif’s Viral Twitter Video

April 22, 2022 – International news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has fact-checked a video of newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) that shows him being serenaded by a singer at what was being claimed to be the PM House.

The video of singer Farhan NTF with the PM was shared on Twitter on April 15, 2022. It has since been viewed over 750,000 times with 15,000 retweets.

“The Prime Minister House resembles a circus these days,” reads the tweet. “Watch this video if you have any doubts.”

The video was subsequently shared by senior PTI leaders, including Fawad Chaudhry.

“Pakistan’s dummy prime minister while conducting important meetings on public issues at the PM House,” Fawad Chaudhry jibed at Sharif while retweeting the video. 

The video attracted widespread criticism from unwitting social media users and the PTI supporters, leading to online attacks at Sharif. But according to a report published by AFP, the video is old and was shot at Sharif’s private residence last year. It was previously uploaded to YouTube on November 3, 2021.

“When he [Sharif] found out this song didn’t belong to [another Pakistani singer] and that I was the original singer, his personal assistant invited me to come to Shehbaz Sharif’s home,” Farhan told AFP. “It was an honour and I went there.”

Since PTI Chief Imran Khan’s ouster from the PM Office on April 10, articles and tweets in his support are being wrongly attributed to prominent figures. Writer Fatima Bhutto and jurist Nasira Javed Iqbal have publicly rejected the social media posts circulating with their name. Actor Syra Yousuf, who attended Khan’s rally in Karachi last week, has also clarified on Instagram that the Twitter account in her name does not belong to her. A fake post from the said account (misspelt Sayra Yousaf) was also shared by Fawad Chaudhry earlier this week.

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