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PML-N politician did not claim Nawaz Sharif is ‘second to God’

Politician seen in video also issues statement refuting allegations

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Claim: PML-N’s candidate for National Assembly from Chakwal, Major (r) Tahir Iqbal, said, “The person second to God is known as Mian Nawaz Sharif.”

Fact: Major Iqbal’s remarks have been taken out of context and presented in a purposely trimmed video. Upon viewing a longer version of the clip, Iqbal in his speech praises Nawaz Sharif for his hard work and sacrifices, notes the current turmoil in Pakistan, and says, “After God, the only person to take Pakistan out of the mess it is currently in is called Mian Nawaz Sharif.”

On 30 January 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user @Waqarkhan123 posted (archive) a video of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Major (r) Tahir Iqbal speaking during an election campaign gathering. The accompanying caption reads as follows:

“چکوال سے ن لیگ NA کے امیدوار میجر طاہر اقبال کُفر کی ساری حدیں پار کرتے ہوۓ
[The PML-N’s National Assembly candidate from Chakwal, Major Tahir Iqbal, crossing all limits of godlessness.]”

In the video, the politician can be heard saying, “الله کے بعد جو ہستی ہے، اس کو میں نواز شریف کہتے ہیں۔ [The person second to God is known as Mian Nawaz Sharif.]”

The remarks, if taken as they are, without any context, are dangerous since they can be construed as blasphemous. In Pakistan, it is a crime punishable by death and, in many instances (archive), even accusations of such have led to mob lynchings and extrajudicial murders.

@Waqarkhan123 is the president of the PTI’s Maryland chapter, as per his X bio.

PML-N Supremo Nawaz Sharif, who has held the prime minister’s post thrice to date, returned (archive) to Pakistan in October 2023 after staying in London for years. He had left for the UK in 2019 on medical grounds (archive) after being handed a seven-year jail sentence over corruption charges (archive).

The politician seen speaking in the video has been identified as Major (r) Tahir Iqbal, a former member of the National Assembly (MNA) and ex-minister for Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit Baltistan. In the upcoming general elections, he is contesting on a PML-N ticket from the Chakwal (NA-58) constituency.

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.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check found another video (archive), shot from a different angle, that includes a longer version of the same politician’s speech.

Posted by X user @realikramnasim, the clip shows Major Iqbal making the following statements:

“بات یہ ہی کے الیکشن کا سیزن ہے اور سارے الیکشن کے لیئے اکٹھے ہوئے ہیں۔
[This is the election season and everyone has come together for the election.]”

“اور پاکستان کو، جو اس مصیبت میں گھرا رہا ہے، اس کو اس مصیبت سے نکالنے کے لیئے الله کے بعد جو ہستی ہے، اس کو میاں نواز شریف کہتے ہیں۔
[And, after God, the only person to take Pakistan out of the mess it is currently in is called Mian Nawaz Sharif.]”

“میاں نواز شریف دن رات محنت کر رہا ہے اور پلان کر رہا ہے کہ آنے والے وقتوں میں اس نے پاکستان کو کس طرح سیدھی پٹری پہ چلانا ہے اور اس کو ایشین ٹائیگر بنانا ہے۔
[Mian Nawaz Sharif is working hard day and night and planning how to steer Pakistan on the right track and make it an Asian Tiger in the coming times.]”

“میاں نواز شریف نے بیشک پاکستان کی خاطر قربانیاں دیں۔
[Mian Nawaz Sharif certainly sacrificed for the sake of Pakistan.]”

“یہ واحد وزیر اعظم ہے جو تین دفع دو تہائی اکثریت سے وزیر اعظم بنا اور پھر پاکستان کی خاطر اس کو قربانی دینی پڑی۔
[He is the only prime minister who became the prime minister three times with a two-thirds majority and then had to make sacrifices for the sake of Pakistan.]”

@realikramnasim wrote the following caption alongside the clip:

“یوتھیے کس طرح عوام کو گمراہ کرتے ہیں
[How do the Youthias mislead the people?]”

“اسکے لئے آپ پہلے نیچے یوتھیے نے جو چھ سینڈ کا کلپ کاٹ کر لگایا ہے وہ سنیں آپ اس بندے پر کفر کا فتویٰ لگائیں گے
[For that, you should first listen to the six-second trimmed clip that the Youthia has posted below; you would label him a unbeliever.]”

“مگر جب آپ پورا کلپ جو میں نے لگایا ہے وہ سنیں گے آپکو کوئی کفریہ جملہ نظر نہیں آئے گا
[But when you listen to the entire clip that I have posted, you will not hear any blasphemous words]”

“یہ ہوتا ہے ان لوگوں کا باریک طریقہ واردات
[This is the subtle method of attack of these people]”

To further verify the authenticity of this longer version, we searched for any live streams available on social media platforms and came across one (archive) posted by Musarrat Jafary, who describes himself as a journalist at Daily Ausaf’s Islamabad office.

In the caption of the live video posted at 4:31 PM on 30 January, Jafary wrote:

“ڈھڈیال سربراہ عوامی اتحاد گروپ چوہدری خورشید بیگ کی میجر طاہر اقبال کی حمایت کے موقع پر منعقدہ تقریب سے حلقہ این اے 58 سے مسلم لیگ ن کے نامزد امیدوار میجر طاہر اقبال خطاب کرتے ہوئے
[Dhudial: Major Tahir Iqbal, the PML-N’s nominated candidate from the Constituency NA-58, speaking at an event organised by the head of the Awami Ittehad Group, Chaudhry Khurshid Baig, to announce support for Major Tahir Iqbal.]”

Dhudial is a village in Punjab’s Chakwal district.

Soch Fact Check reached out to Jafary to inquire more about the video.

Jafary confirmed that he filmed the clip and shared it on his Facebook account. “Yes, I had posted the video live but later someone uploaded that other video,” he said, emphasising that he has nothing to do with the viral six-second footage in question.

We also came across another video interview (archive) of Major Iqbal, shot after the viral clip we are investigating spread on social media. The politician refutes the allegations and urges people to watch his entire speech to understand that he did not make any religiously insensitive comments.

The interview has a logo at the bottom-right corner that reads “دهن چکوال چینل”. Upon searching further, we found the Facebook and YouTube pages of the local media outlet called Dhan Chakwal. On 31 January, it posted a news clipping (archive) comprising a summary of the same interview with the following text:

“ڈھڈیال میں میری تقریر کو سیاق سباق سے ھٹ کر منفی انداز میں سوشل میڈیا پر نشر کیا گیا
[My speech from Dhudial was taken out of context and shared in a negative manner on social media.]”

“شکست دیکھ کر پراپیگینڈا مشینری متحرک کردی گئی ہے، میجر طاہر اقبال
[Seeing their defeat, the propaganda machinery has been mobilised, [says] Major Tahir Iqbal.]”

“مسلم لیگ ن کو جس انداز میں پورے ضلع میں تمام چھ نشستوں پر بھر پور پذیرائی ملی ہے مخالفین بوکھلا اٹھے ہیں اور خصوصی طور پر میرے خلاف جھوٹا اور بے بنیاد پراپیگینڈا کر رہے ہیں
[The opponents are bewildered at the manner in which PML-N has been well-received in all the six seats of the entire district and they are spreading false and baseless propaganda especially against me.]”

“سوشل میڈیا پر میرے خلاف جو ویڈیو وائرل کی گئی ہے وہ سیاق سباق سے ہٹ کر ہے جس سے ہمارے مخالفین کی ذہنیت کا اندازہ بخوبی لگایا جا سکتا ہے، میجر (ر) طاہر اقبال
[The video against me that has been made viral on social media is out of context and from which the mentality of our adversaries can be well understood, [says] Major (r) Tahir Iqbal.]”

The short viral clip is false and presented out of context.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis and found more than 300 posts since 29 January related to “میجر طاہر اقبال [Major Tahir Iqbal]”; however, not all of the content in the search results carried the viral clip in question.

We found that the verified Facebook page ‘Ch Hussnain Ali Jandanwala – PTI’ posted the video here as did another PTI-leaning account here.

Multiple others shared the video here, here, here, here, and here. The clip was also shared as a Facebook Reel here, here, here, here, and here.

The X post by @Waqarkhan123 has gained more than 339,300 views, as of writing time.

Conclusion: Major Iqbal’s remarks have been taken out of context and presented in a purposely trimmed video. Upon viewing a longer version of the clip, the PML-N politician in his speech praises Nawaz Sharif for his hard work and sacrifices, notes the current turmoil in Pakistan, and says, “After God, the only person to take Pakistan out of the mess it is currently in is called Mian Nawaz Sharif.”


Background image in cover photo: pml.n.official


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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