Baseless claim of Putin refusing to meet Shehbaz goes viral

Claim seems to have originated from analyst Haroon ur Rasheed

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Claim: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin refused to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit 2022.

Fact: There is no truth to the claims as Vladimir Putin and Shehbaz Sharif met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit 2022 on 15 September 2022. Photos and videos from the two leaders’ meeting are available on various media outlets and official Twitter accounts.

On 9 September 2022, Twitter account @ImranRiazFanz posted a tweet claiming that Russia’s Putin refused to meet Pakistan’s Sharif during the SCO Summit 2022. The tweet was retweeted close to 5,000 times and received nearly 15,000 likes; its text is reproduced below:

“بڑی خبر !!!
[Big news!!!]
روسی صدر پیوٹن نے شہباز شریف سے ملنے سے ہی انکار کر دیا۔
[Russian President Putin has refused to even meet Shehbaz Sharif]”

PM Shehbaz Sharif reached the Uzbek city of Samarkand on 15 September 2022 on a two-day trip for the 22nd annual meeting of the SCO’s Council of Heads of State. He was accompanied by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reviewed the official accounts of the Government of Pakistan, as well as Pakistani journalists, to check if there were any reports, pictures or videos of the two leaders’ meeting.

The Government of Pakistan shared a picture and a video of Vladimir Putin and Shehbaz Sharif’s meeting; journalists Hamza Azhar Salam, Anas Mallick, and Roohan Ahmed also tweeted about it.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s political secretary, Zeeshan Malik, also posted the images.

We also browsed pictures on the photo galleries of Getty Images, Agence France-Presse (AFP), and The Associated Press (AP), all three of which carry shots from the Putin-Shehbaz meeting at the SCO Summit 2022.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the seven-day period from 9 September 2022 to 16 September using the search term, “روسی صدر پیوٹن نے شہباز شریف سے ملنے سے ہی انکار کر دیا”.

We found 32 posts on Facebook that gained over 3,000 interactions. We also came across a tweet from the verified Twitter account of Haqeeqat TV, wherein the outlet linked the claim to controversial analyst Haroon ur Rasheed.

On Twitter, we found the same content here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Furthermore, Soch Fact Check also came across a video titled, “روسی صدر نے شہباز شریف سے ملنے سے انکار کر دیا,” on YouTube channel sach news, wherein vlogger Muhammad Amjad also makes similar claims.

Conclusion: There is no truth to the claims as Vladimir Putin and Shehbaz Sharif met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit 2022 on 15 September 2022. Photos and videos from the two leaders’ meeting are available on various media outlets and official Twitter accounts.

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