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Does this image show Nawaz Sharif’s father arrested for stealing a buffalo?

Image is actually of late Kashmiri separatist leader Maqbool Bhat


Claim: A picture shows the father of PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, standing handcuffed after being arrested for stealing a buffalo.

Fact: The picture actually shows the late Kashmiri separatist leader Maqbool Bhat, who was arrested in 1976 and executed on 11 February 1984.

On 27 January 2024, Facebook user ‘Kamred Aslam Khaskheli’ shared (archive) a picture of a handcuffed man standing with a police officer on either side and text that reads as follows:

“یہ نواز شریف اور شہباز شریف کے والد ہیں جو 1958 میں بھینس چوری کے چرم میں پکڑے گئے تھے۔ شروع سے ہی پوری نسل چور ہے۔
[This is the father of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif caught in 1958 for stealing a buffalo. The entire generation has been thieves since the start.]”

Ahead of the 2024 general elections in Pakistan, slated for 8 February, Soch Fact Check has observed an influx of false and misleading claims that may impact public opinion and voter behaviour.

Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, has held the Prime Minister’s Office three times in the past. He’s contesting the 2024 general elections from two seats: the Mansehra-cum-Torghar (NA-15) and Lahore (NA-130) constituencies.

His brother, Shehbaz Sharif, who has served as both the chief minister of Punjab and the prime minister of Pakistan, is also contesting elections from the Kasur-II (NA-132) constituency.

Fact or Fiction?

When Soch Fact Check reverse-searched the image, we did not find any evidence that the image is linked to the father of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif.

The picture has been published in multiple posts by Free Press Kashmir — including here, here, and here (archived here, here, and here, respectively) — and the man in question identified as Maqbool Bhat, a Kashmiri separatist leader who co-founded the National Liberation Front (NLF), now known as the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Bhat was arrested for a second time in 1976 after an attempted bank robbery and moved to Delhi’s Tihar Jail consequently. When an Indian diplomat in the UK, Ravindra Mhatre, was murdered in 1984 by the JKLF’s armed wing, the National Liberation Army, Bhat’s appeal for clemency was set aside and he was executed on 11 February 1984.

Another article (archive), published by The Wire Urdu on 7 February 2018, also identifies the man in question as Maqbool Bhat. The same picture is available on the websites Maqbool Reborn (archive) and Maqbool Bhat Foundation (archive), and is included in a Naya Daur article (archive) titled, “The Forever Struggle: Kashmir Conflicts In Pictures.”

Furthermore, the name of the father of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif is Mian Muhammad Sharif, as per their respective profiles on the National Assembly’s website here and here.


The post by Facebook user ‘Kamred Aslam Khaskheli’ has been shared more than 130 times as of writing time. It was also posted here on 25 January 2024.

This is not the first time the image has gone viral with the false caption. In 2023, it was shared on X by multiple accounts leaning towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the party of the incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan; these posts can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The false claim was also shared here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook in 2023.

Conclusion: A picture claiming to show the father of PML-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif actually shows the late Kashmiri separatist leader, Maqbool Bhat, who was arrested in 1976 and executed on 11 February 1984.

Background image in cover photo: pml.n.official and pml.n.official

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