Junaid Safdar has not been arrested in London

2018 video being shared with claim Junaid Safdar clashed with a protester

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Claim: Multiple social media reports claim that Junaid Safdar, the grandson of Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was arrested in London over either a fake degree or involvement in a stolen Bentley Mulsanne case.

Fact: The video is over four years old and shows Junaid Safdar being detained following a physical altercation in London between himself, a protester, and his cousin.

On 11 September 2022, Facebook page ‘Zafar Cheema Pti World America Official’ shared a video, claiming that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s grandson Junaid Safdar has been arrested over a “fake degree”. The clip — which shows police officers taking Safdar into custody — was captioned as follows:

“پورا ٹبر ہی فراڈ میں ماہر ہے مریم فتنی کا بیٹا جنید صفدر جعلی ڈگری کی وجہ سے لندن میں گرفتار
[The entire family is an expert in fraud… The son of Maryam ‘Fitna’ [Mischief] has been arrested in London over fake degree.]”

The clip immediately went viral on social media, raking up tens of thousands of views on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check could not find any recent news reports regarding Junaid Safdar’s arrest. A TinEye Reverse Image Search led us to a 13 July 2018 report in The Daily Jang, with a headline that, when translated to English, reads: “Nawaz Sharif’s grandsons released.”

We also came across news reports from July 2018 by Geo News, Dawn, and The Express Tribune that carried the same video and picture of Junaid Safdar following a physical altercation with a protester. He is then taken into custody alongside his cousin, Hussain Nawaz’s son Zakariya, by London’s Metropolitan Police. These videos are also available on Dawn News’ and Geo News’ YouTube Channels. 

Furthermore, Zeeshan Malik, the political secretary of PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif, denied the claims on Twitter and criticised “those who spread false news under the guise of journalism”.

Soch Fact Check also found two tweets from 2018 by Geo News’ reporter Murtaza Ali Shah, showing the aftermath of the brawl and a report by The News.

Safdar graduated from Cambridge University in July 2022.

Moreover, there is no tangible connection between Safdar and the case of a Bentley Mulsanne that was reported stolen in London and found in Pakistan. Latest news reports about the case suggest that the main suspects — owner Jameel Shafi and a car broker Naveed Balwani — applied for bail on 7 September 2022. In related news, a court summoned jail officials for shifting both suspects from Karachi Central Jail to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) without permission.

Soch Fact Check concludes that the reports claiming Safdar has been arrested over either a fake degree or involvement in the stolen Bentley Mulsanne case are false.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the three-day period from 9 September 2022 to 12 September using the following search terms:

  • “جنید صفدر”
  • “جنید صفدر لندن گرفتار”
  • “Junaid Safdar”

The first search term turned up close to 350 posts that garnered 27,475 interactions on Facebook, as of the time of writing this fact check.

The second and third search terms turned up 210 Facebook posts that gained 22,034 interactions and 31 Facebook posts that gained 1,781 interactions, respectively.

A post by the verified Facebook page ‘Javed Chaudhry’ has shared the link to a news story, published by a blog of the same name, which carries the same claims. The post by Facebook page ‘Zafar Cheema Pti World America Official’ has received more than 152,000 views, 7,200 likes, 800 comments, and 7,500 shares.

We also found a post by Instagram account @imran.khan.fans, which has more than 1,700 likes and over 150 comments.

Conclusion: The video is over four years old and shows Junaid Safdar being detained following a physical altercation in London involving his cousin and a protester.

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