Snippets of overseas Pakistani woman’s interview from 2021 shared as local resident’ views

Video also shared by special assistant to Khan to bolster agenda

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Claim: Individuals associated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have shared brief clips of women praising Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government. These posts are accompanied by captions in favour of Pakistan’s ruling party.

Fact: The videos are snippets from two interviews from 2021 of the same woman. She has appeared in several videos on the ruling PTI’s social media platforms. Posts that are now being shared misleadingly claim that the woman is a local resident.

On 15 March 2022, Facebook user AbdulRauf Salarzai shared a video showing a woman with a white dupatta over her head speaking in favour of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and claiming that common people are not complaining about poverty or hunger under the current government. The woman, who is standing next to an elderly lady, goes on to state that Khan “is the only hope” for the country and that he “made everyone else irrelevant”.

Salarzai wrote the following caption with the video:

“یہ ہے اس قوم کی بیٹی۔ یہ ہے فکری آزادی کاش ہماری بڑے بڑے دانشور اپنی بغض سے نکل کر یہ دیکھ سکیں۔ سوچ سکیں
[This is the daughter of this nation. This is intellectual freedom of thought. Wish our great intellectuals could come out of their hatred and see and think.]”

The video went viral, with numerous social media users sharing it to praise Khan. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill also posted the video to his verified Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Fact or fiction?

Soch Fact Check first checked the comments underneath Gill’s tweet and found multiple people sharing another video — or screenshots from it — from a year ago. We uploaded screenshots from the clip to Google Lens and Google Reverse Image Search to investigate the source of the videos.

Text visible to the left just under Gill’s video shows that the video was originally uploaded by Khurshid Alam, PM Khan’s Focal Person for Philanthropy Drive and a member of both the Namal Education Foundation and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust.

In the comments under a quote tweet sharing Gill’s post, a user shared a tweet by lawyer and social activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir, in which the latter pointed out that the woman in the video had also appeared in another one almost a year ago.

Nasir also shared screenshots of prior tweets by Twitter account ‏@IKTodayPk, which uploaded videos of the same woman. Soch Fact Check found those tweets, which are available here and here. One of the two aforementioned tweets included a link to a 20-minute video on IK Today’s YouTube channel, which revealed that the woman appeared in two interviews. The first interview was uploaded on 6 March 2021, while two clips from a different interview were uploaded on 29 March 2021 and 7 June 2021.

In the 6 March video on YouTube, the woman claims at the 1:15 mark that she is an overseas Pakistani from the Burley village in Hampshire, England.

A Bing reverse image search also led us to the 29 March 2021 interview of the overseas Pakistani woman.

A Facebook search for similar posts turned up a video shared by Facebook page ‘Imran Khan Tigers’, which identified the woman as Erum Khan, an overseas Pakistani, and claimed she returned from London. The interview has over 8,000 views.

Soch Fact Check observed that the interviewer in both videos of the woman is also the same person, as are the points made by Erum Khan in support of the Prime Minister.

We also found another video — titled “Overseas Pakistani Female Erum Khan Expose Geo News Propaganda Against PM Imran Khan” — by using the search term “‘erum khan’ ‘overseas pakistani’”.

The latest video appears to have been uploaded by the verified YouTube page of Urdu World after some media outlets called out Gill, the prime minister’s special assistant, for misleading people. However, despite the claim that the video shows Erum Khan defending herself in light of the recent allegation, she does not in fact rebut anything over which she was called out.

While some media outlets went on to say the overseas Pakistani woman, Erum Khan, was a “paid” actor, Soch Fact Check was unable to independently verify that claim.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the search period from 1 January 2021 to present date using the following search terms:

  • “یہ ہے اس قوم کی بیٹی۔  یہ ہے فکری آزادی۔  کاش ہماری بڑے بڑے دانشور اپنی بغض سے نکل کر یہ دیکھ سکیں۔  سوچ سکیں۔
    [This is the daughter of this nation. This is intellectual freedom of thought. Wish our great intellectuals could come out of their hatred and see and think.]”
  • “عمران خان نے آپ کو 10 لاکھ کا صحت کارڈ دیا آپ لوگ شکر ادا کریں
    [Imran Khan gave you a health card worth 1 million. You should be thankful.]”
  • “لندن سے آئی ہوئی اوور سیز پاکستانی #ارم_خان سے خصوصی گفتگو
    [Exclusive interview with Overseas Pakistani #Erum_Khan who has arrived from London.]”

The first search term turned up close to 40 posts with 18,442 interactions, while the second and third search terms revealed 15 posts with nearly 1,800 interactions and 20 posts with over 270 interactions, respectively.

The interactions on the first search term peaked on 16 March 2022, whereas those on the second peaked between 9 and 11 March 2021, as well as on 11 April 2021.

Conclusion: In the videos posted on or around 15 March, it was implied that the woman was a resident of Pakistan and praising Imran Khan. However, the clips are only snippets from longer interviews uploaded in 2021 and the woman, identified as Erum Khan, as well as the interviewer, are the same people. She has appeared in prior videos for the ruling PTI’s social media campaigns.

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