Viral screenshot showing PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz praising Imran Khan is fake

Fake screenshot shows tweet by PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz calling Imran Khan ‘my hero’


Claim: PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz Sharif described Prime Minister Imran Khan as her “hero” in a 2008 Twitter post

Fact: The tweet in the screenshot being circulated is from 27 September 2008 but Maryam Nawaz Sharif did not join Twitter until January 2012. Therefore, the image must be doctored.

On 5 October 2021, an Instagram account shared a screenshot of a tweet from 2008, allegedly posted by Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of Pakistan’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. In the tweet, Nawaz — whose party is currently in the Opposition and whose father, Nawaz Sharif, served as the prime minister of Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms — is seen to be calling Khan her “hero”, tagging him and saying “God Bless you.”

A screenshot shared by The Mazhaiya Movement on Instagram, purportedly showing PML-N VP Maryam Nawaz calling Prime Minister Imran Khan her “hero”

The screenshot was recently shared by The Mazhaiya Movement (@themazahiyamovement), a ‘public figure’ account on Instagram with more than 126,000 followers. However, a Google Reverse Image Search revealed that the screenshot is not new and has been circulating since December last year.

It was shared, for instance, on 15 May 2021, by Twitter user @doctorbushra1 alongside a screenshot of another tweet allegedly linked to Nawaz. Before that, on 14 December 2020, US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie posted the screenshot but seemed to insinuate in her post that the image was not authentic.

The screenshot was also posted by multiple accounts and pages on Facebook — including here, here, here, here, here, here, and here — and was also shared by more than 280 others.

Soch Fact Check found the screenshot to be doctored. To begin with, Maryam Nawaz Sharif joined Twitter in January 2012 and did not have an account on the microblogging social media platform before that; her first tweet seems to have been posted on 5 January 2012. While it is true that Nawaz used a BlackBerry in 2012, as suggested in the doctored screenshot, she now uses an iPhone.

(Anti-clockwise, starting top left) A screenshot of a tweet by Twitter user @doctorbushra1 who shared screenshots of two tweets by Maryam Nawaz — one authentic and another doctored — in which the PML-N leader praises Prime Minister Imran Khan; a screenshot of Nawaz’s tweet from November 2012 in which she said Khan was “a great cricketer & an even better commentator”; a doctored screenshot showing Nawaz describing Khan as her “hero”; an image of US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie’s tweet containing the doctored screenshot of a tweet attributed to Nawaz

The doctored screenshot has garnered a total of 10,475 interactions across more than 140 Facebook posts since 4 October 2020, according to a CrowdTangle analysis, peaking at 3,600 interactions in mid-December 2020, around the same time that Ritchie shared it on her Twitter profile.

Also in December 2020, the screenshot was posted to Instagram pages such as @shugal_mela, @politicalhubofficial, @sunnykuchkar, @teampakicelebs, and @pakistani.celebrities. It started making the rounds on social media again in May 2021 when @its_doctorgram and @phoupho_dakh_la_gi posted it on Instagram, and has now resurfaced once again.

Using the advanced search option on Twitter, Soch Fact Check found that Nawaz never in fact tweeted the following: “My Hero Mashallah Sadqay @ImranKhanPTI God Bless you Imran khan”.

However, it is true that she described Khan as “a great cricketer & an even better commentator” in a tweet on 21 November 2012. An archived version of the tweet can be found here.

Conclusion: An image showing a 2008 tweet in which Maryam Nawaz called Prime Minister Imran Khan her “hero” is doctored. The PML-N leader in fact joined Twitter in 2012. However, Nawaz has in the past tweeted that Khan is “a great cricketer & an even better commentator”.

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