No, Pakistan has not imposed economic sanctions on Russia

Media outlets published satirical piece about Pakistan imposing sanctions on Russia as real news

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Claim: Pakistan has imposed economic sanctions on Russia joining other countries sanctioning the country after its invasion of Ukraine.

Fact: The claim is false as no statement suggesting Pakistan has – or will – impose sanctions on Russia has been issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The news was published by a satire site but was later shared as real news by different media outlets and on social media platforms.

Fact or Fiction

On 1 March 2022, Soch Fact Check received a screenshot of a news story published by an Indian news and satire website The Fauxy with the headline “Pakistan Imposes Economic Sanctions On Russia, Refuses To Repay Loans”. According to the satirical story, addressing a press conference on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Khan condemned Russia’s actions and threatened to impose economic sanctions on the country. Upon being asked what economic sanctions Pakistan will impose, Khan said “Pakistan has 1 billion US dollar debt which Pakistan won’t repay now.”

Although the story was published by an Indian satire outlet, it was later shared as real news by individual Twitter and Facebook users as well as media outlets.

Different pages that appear connected to India or run by Indian users shared the claim as real news including here, here, and here. An Indian media outlet Political Dost also reported the news in Hindi here.

In fact, Pakistan has maintained a ‘neutral’ position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and abstained from voting to censure Russia in the United Nations General Assembly session on Wednesday 2 March 2022.

Virality

According to a CrowdTangle analysis conducted by Soch Fact Check, the search term “Pakistan imposes economic sanctions on Russia” turned up 215 posts on Facebook which received a total of 71,500 interactions over the seven day period from 28 February to 7 March 2022.

In addition to the pages mentioned above, Soch Fact Check found that the false news was also shared by other international media outlets on their social media platforms, including Japan’s news website J-Cast in a now-deleted tweet. A screenshot of the now-deleted tweet can be seen below:

Screenshot of J-Cast deleted tweet

Another Japanese news website also shared an article about the news in Japanese.

Conclusion: A satirical piece about Pakistan imposing economic sanctions on Russia was reported as real news by international media outlets and individual accounts. Pakistan has not imposed economic sanctions on Russia, nor has it announced plans to do so.

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