Did supporters of Nawaz Sharif rally in Lahore on his return? | Fake Fact or fiction | Episode 23


Soumadip Dey

Claim: An online report stated that fifty thousand supporters of Nawaz Sharif, the recently ousted Pakistani Prime Minister, rallied in Lahore when he returned to the country knowing he would be arrested. It was widely shared on social media.

Sources: Online News Portals, Twitter.

What Happened: An online report by the National Herald stated that fifty thousand Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supporters, which was until recently headed by the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, rallied in Lahore when he returned from abroad accompanied by his daughter and was arrested. However, were the photos and videos embedded in the report that purported to show the crowds at the rally actually taken in Lahore?

The report embedded two tweets containing a video and photos of crowds, claiming that they were of Sharif's supporters in Lahore.

Fact: The video in the tweet is in fact not from Lahore, but was actually taken during a rally in London where people were protesting against the visit of the US President Donald Trump. The video was originally published by the BBC on the July 13th, 2018, and shows thousands of protesters marching through central London.

Another tweet in the same National Herald report showed various photos of crowds accompanied by a caption stating: "No media channel is showing real footage of PMLN historic protest today."

However, a simple reverse image search of one of the photos shows it to actually be a photo of heavy traffic in China.

Conclusion: This is yet another example of how real pictures are easily recontextualized in order to serve a political agenda, in this case to make an ostentatious display of the extent to which Nawaz Sharif enjoys popular support in Pakistan.

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