Meme about Supreme Court hearing shared as serious news

Doctored screenshot of a news card from a Geo News bulletin was posted as a joke

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Claim: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial during a hearing pertaining to the election of Punjab’s chief minister was reported as saying, “It is rainy season [but] no one brought pakoras for us,” according to a Geo News bulletin.

Fact: Justice Bandial made no such comment; a Geo News bulletin was doctored to create a meme. A screenshot of the original news card was posted by journalist Syed Talat Hussain on Twitter on 26 May 2022.

On 26 July 2022, Twitter user @shahzadShafi007 posted a screenshot of a Geo News news card that has the text, “بارش کا موسم ہے ہمارے لیے کوئی پکوڑے نہیں لایا، چیف جسٹس [It is rainy season [but] no one has brought pakoras for us],” written on it.

A pakora is a fritter made of chickpea flour, with onion, chillies, ginger, spinach, and potato; it is a common food item in South Asia and is often consumed during rainy weather, as well as in the Islamic month of Ramzan.

@shahzadShafi007 captioned the tweet as follows:

“کام کو عبادت سمجھ کر کرتے ہیں ۔۔۔۔
[They treat work as worship.]”

Numerous social media users appeared to believe the image, thinking it was a screenshot of an authentic report from Geo News.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check investigated the visual in question as it appeared to be visibly doctored. This is because the transparent portion of the news card that overlaps with the relevant real-time or file image shows brush strokes similar to those made in a photo-editing application.

We used Google Reverse Image Search and Google Lens to ascertain the source of the visual and came across a tweet by senior journalist Talat Hussain posted on 26 May 2022 that carries a similar news card; this one, however, has different text and reads, “ممکن ہے کے عمران خان کو غلط بتایا گیا ہو, چیف جسٹس [It is possible that Imran Khan was misinformed, says Chief Justice].”

We compared the two visuals and found similar identification markers, such as the juxtaposition of the news card and the image of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the name of reporter Maryam Nawaz and her designation, as well as the angle of the Geo News logo, which constantly rotates in the bottom-right corner.

Soch Fact Check found what appears to be the earliest instances of the altered visual shared by Twitter user @arhuml92, who posted it at 8:13 PM on 25 July 2022, and by @rumpoptarts, who shared it five minutes later at 8:18 PM.

Soch Fact Check has previously investigated a similar claim when a doctored news card was shared on social media.

Virality

Soch Fact Check used keywords such as “بارش موسم پکوڑے چیف جسٹس” to organically search Facebook and Twitter for the misleading posts. 

On Facebook, these can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. On Twitter, we found relevant tweets here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: A Geo News news card was doctored to suggest that Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial during a hearing said, “It is rainy season [but] no one brought pakoras for us.” The CJP made no such comment. The news card appears to have been doctored to create a meme. A screenshot of the original news card was posted by journalist Syed Talat Hussain on Twitter on 26 May 2022; it has different text that reads, “It is possible that Imran Khan was misinformed, says Chief Justice.”

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