Azerbaijan President did not comment on Pakistan’s political crisis

Claims state that he bashed opposition parties and backed Imran Khan ahead of the no-confidence vote

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Claim: The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev criticised Pakistan’s opposition parties and sent a message to the people of Pakistan to stand behind their leader Imran Khan, as he is not only a beacon of light for Pakistan but also the Muslim world. He also urged people to foil the conspiracy against Khan.

Fact: Aliyev did not issue statements commenting on the political situation in Pakistan or in support of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Fact or Fiction?

On 27 March 2022, Facebook user Yahya Khan shared a graphic which contained text in Urdu claiming that the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has criticised Pakistan’s opposition parties and backed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, urging people to foil the conspiracy to oust him from power. 

Soch Fact Check investigated the claim and found it to be false. On 22 March 2022, Aliyev sent a letter to  Imran Khan, which can be seen here, to celebrate Pakistan Day. This letter, however, makes no mention of the political situation in Pakistan, referring only to Pakistan’s diplomatic relationship with Azerbaijan.

Soch Fact Check also analysed the Twitter accounts of President Ilham Aliyev and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Azerbaijan and found only one post related to Pakistan. On 23 March 2022, MFA Azerbaijan extended their best wishes for the success and prosperity of Pakistan on the special occasion of Pakistan Day via a tweet.

However, none of the posts make any mention of Imran Khan or the current political situation in Pakistan.

Other posts carrying a similar claim used an image of Aliyev, which is most likely a screen grab from one of the many videos of him speaking. The image also contains the Al Jazeera logo, but Soch Fact Check could not find any video shared by the media organisation in which Aliyev can be heard urging people to support Khan. 

Imran Khan was ousted from power via a no-confidence vote held on 9 April 2022,  a move he has alleged was an attempt at regime change backed by the United States.

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the English search term “President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev Pakistan” turned up nine posts on Facebook which received 2,142 interactions over the 30-day period leading up to 18 April 2022.

Yahya Khan’s post received 22 likes and 50 shares on Facebook. The claim was also picked by another Facebook page; here

A handful of Facebook groups also shared it, including, here, here, here and here.

The analysis revealed that the Urdu search term “ازربائجان کے صدر الہام علی یوف پاکستان اپوزیشن پارٹیز پر برس پڑے [Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev blasted off at opposition parties in Pakistan]” turned up 220 posts which received a total of 45,474 interactions over the same period. 

Multiple posts carrying the claim can be found on Facebook, including here, here, here, here and here, among others. 

PTI Pakistan’s post received 9,100 likes and 6,300 shares and Abdul Rauf Salarzai’s post received 5,000 likes and 3,000 shares.

Meanwhile, Malik Amjad Khan’s post is performing 8.6x better than other similar posts on Facebook with 2,600 likes and 1500 shares.

Conclusion: The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev did not comment on the political situation in Pakistan or issue any statement backing former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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