8 billion from the country after Imran Khan’s ouster

State Bank of Pakistan debunked false claims about withdrawals from Roshan Digital Accounts

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Claim: Facebook posts claim overseas Pakistanis withdrew approximately $1.8 billion from Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) — accounts used by Pakistani nationals living abroad to access banking services within Pakistan — in the hours after Imran Khan’s ouster as prime minister.

Fact: The posts are false and misleading. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has debunked the false claims, stating in a tweet that RDA inflows remain strong. In sum, there is no truth to claims that overseas Pakistanis began pulling their money out of RDAS after Imran Khan was ousted.

On 10 April 2022,  Instagram account ‘Thousand Girls’ shared a post claiming that overseas Pakistanis withdrew approximately 1.8 billion US dollars from RDAs following Imran Khan’s removal from the office of prime minister. According to the post, the Pakistani diaspora were sending a message that “we won’t send any remittances until Imran Khan comes back.” RDAs are frequently used as tools to send foreign remittances and investments to Pakistan.

Former PM Imran Khan was ousted through a no-confidence motion on 9 April 2022. After his removal, a number of misleading claims began circulating on social media. Soch Fact Check previously debunked stories about a Turkish actor allegedly tweeting in support of Khan and a message about the political situation attributed to Fatima Bhutto.

Fact or Fiction?

As has been noted above, RDAs are accounts used by Pakistani nationals living abroad to access banking services within Pakistan. They are often used by members of the Pakistani diaspora to send foreign remittances into the country.

The social media posts in question claimed that overseas Pakistanis across different countries withdrew money from their RDAs as a form of protest against Khan’s recent ouster. The posts state that Pakistanis abroad wanted to send a message — “no Imran, no remittances” — and do not want their hard-earned money to be used by the new government.

On 11 April 2022, the State Bank of Pakistan refuted the claims circulating on social media. SBP tweeted from their official account that “so far in April, inflows are very strong at around $86 mn & there are no abnormal outflows.” The tweet thus debunked the claims on social media about large withdrawals from #RoshanDigitalAccounts and a slowdown in inflows.

Additionally, on 16 April 2022, Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, in a video message thanked overseas Pakistanis, stating that the inflows in RDAs crossed USD 4 billion. He also refuted the recent rumors about the withdrawals circulating on social media. His video message was tweeted by the SBP official account.

Virality

According to our analysis, the false post was first shared by the Facebook page Pakistan Republic with an image bearing the logo of the page. The post was later deleted by the page after the SBP’s rejection of the claims.

The post in question was also shared here, here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

On Twitter, it was shared here, here, here, here between 10 and 17 April 2022.

Conclusion: Pakistanis living abroad did not withdraw USD 1.8 billion from RDAs following Imran Khan’s ouster. There may have been individual withdrawals from accounts but not to the extent or in the amount claimed, as has been confirmed by SBP.

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