Claim: A Twitter post claims that it shows Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greeting Nawaz Sharif at the airport.

Fact: The claim is false. The picture is from 2016, when Sharif was prime minister and attended the North Thunder Exercise, a joint venture of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia military forces.

On 11 April 2023, a Twitter user posted an image with the Urdu language caption that translated into English reads; “This is an honor, Mian Nawaz Sharif was welcomed at the airport by the Saudi Crown Prince. These [Saudi Prince] are the ones whose car was driven by Imran Khan. The journey starts from where it left off. Those who wanted to end Nawaz Sharif have ended their own selves. #Nawaz Sharif is still standing today.”

The picture went viral after the then-PM and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Nawaz Sharif went to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah.

Fact or Fiction?

To investigate the claim, Soch Fcat Check conducted a reverse image search, and the result showed a picture gallery posted by Urdu Point. The pictures were titled North Thunder Exercise, 10 March 2016, and the same image as the false post was included in the gallery.

Further, a keyword search on Google showed a news report by The Express Tribune published on 10 March 2016. The report reads, “PM, army chief witness ‘Thunder of the North military exercises in Saudi Arabia. The 12-day manoeuvres in the kingdom’s northeast included 20 nations from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.”

Another similar image as that of the false post can be seen in the news report. The image caption reads, “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif being received by Saudi Defence Minister Prince Muhammad Bin Salman at the venue of North Thunder Joint Military Excercise at Hafar ul Batin, Saudia Arabia on March 10, 2016. PHOTO: PID.” 


The picture was widely shared by supporters of PML-N. The false image received 535.2k views, 800 retweets, and 2,700 likes on Twitter. It can also be seen here, here, and here.

The false caption accompanied by the same image and video was also shared on Facebook The video was posted on PML-N Narowal’s page which received 154k likes, 2.2 million views and 34k comments. The archived posts can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The image of Saudi Prince Mohammad Salman greeting Nawaz Sharif is not from 2023. The picture is from 2016 when Sharif, along with the then Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif, witnessed the North Thunder Exercise on his visit.

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