Video of Pakistan PM's visit to market doctored to add 'he's a thief' chants

·3 min read

A video has been viewed over 150,000 times in social media posts that claim it shows people chanting "he's a thief" at Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during a recent market visit. The posts circulated after Sharif was sworn in following a no-confidence vote which ousted Imran Khan from office in April 2022. However, the claim is false; the video has been edited to include the chants.

The video was posted here on Twitter on April 24, 2022, where it has been viewed over 155,000 times.

“The visit to Sunday market for Shehbaz Sharif wasn’t a happy one. Chants of ‘he’s a thief, he’s a thief’,” the post's Urdu-language caption reads.

The video appears to show Sharif making his way through a crowd. Chants of "chor hai" (he's a thief) can be heard in the background.

Screenshot of the doctored video. Taken on April 26, 2022.

Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan's new premier on April 11 after his coalition successfully voted to remove predecessor Imran Khan from power.

The two leaders have often traded barbs, accusing each other of being "thieves" according to local media reports such as this one.

The footage was shared in similar Twitter posts here, here, here and here; on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Instagram here, here and here.

However, the video has been doctored to add the "thief" chants.

A search through Sharif's official Facebook page found the same clip at the 48-second mark of a longer video posted here on April 24, 2022 -- several hours before the doctored footage surfaced online.

The visuals of the two clips are identical but the audio has been changed. The background sound of the market in the longer video is consistent throughout -- notably, the distinctive music beat heard in the altered clip is absent.

"Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif made a surprise visit to the Ramadan market in Johar Town," the Urdu-language caption on Sharif's video reads.

"The prime minister inquired about the conditions from the people and gave special instructions to ensure the supply of food items at affordable prices during Ramadan."

The video was also posted here on Twitter by Sharif's political party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).

Below is a screenshot comparing scenes from the doctored footage (left) and the one from Sharif's Facebook page (right):

Screenshot comparison between the doctored video (left) and the one from Sharif's Facebook page (right)

According to local media reports, Sharif had made a surprise visit on April 24 to inspect a market in the Johar Town area in the city of Lahore.

None of the reports mention any chanting against Sharif.

"The prime minister made a surprise visit to a Ramadan market in Johar Town. He took notice of the conditions for the public in the Ramadan market," the anchor says in this report by Dunya News.

The visit was reported on in other local media here and here, where the unedited audio can be heard at the 1'30 mark.

Photos of his visit were published here by government news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

Khan's ouster has sparked a wave of misinformation debunked by AFP here, here and here.

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