Shehbaz Sharif did not endorse a ‘soft intervention’ by Pakistan Army

Contrary to a viral screenshot of a Capital TV bulletin, the prime minister did not endorse a ‘soft intervention’ by the Pakistan Army

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Claim: Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif has publicly endorsed a “soft intervention” in the country by the Pakistan Army and has said that if a soft intervention can lead to any sort of benefit to the country, then he is ready to accept it.

Fact: Capital TV spread a false headline claiming that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has endorsed a “soft intervention” by the Pakistan Army in order to resolve the political tension. An anonymous source from the military had spoken to journalists Ansar Abbasi and Suhail Warraich, claiming that a “soft intervention” is being considered by the military. While Soch Fact Check has not investigated the possibility of such an intervention, PM Sharif has not publicly endorsed it.

On 24 July 2022, Capital TV shared a clip claiming that PM Shehbaz Sharif has openly supported a “soft intervention” by the military given the political turmoil faced by the country. 

A screenshot of the Capital TV headline was shared by multiple Twitter accounts claiming that the PML-N’s collusion with the military has been exposed. Journalist Rizwan Razi also shared this screenshot on Twitter on 25 July 2022, claiming that this was fake news accidentally shared by himself and another journalist Talat Hussain, who have both apologized for sharing this statement. 

Soch Fact Check decided to verify whether Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ever made this statement. However, we are not able to investigate if such a “soft intervention” is being discussed privately by the Pakistan Army and PML-N and PTI leaders.

Fact or Fiction?

Capital TV posted a video clip of their report on YouTube in which the commentator claims that Shehbaz Sharif has, while addressing a gathering in Lahore, fully endorsed a “soft intervention.” The commentator further claimed that PM Sharif said that if a “soft intervention” can improve the country’s political situation then he is ready to accept it. At no point did Capital TV play a video or audio recording of Shehbaz Sharif making this statement. 

Other mainstream and local news media outlets such as Geo and The News also published articles on the issue of “soft intervention.” However, both articles, published on 23 July 2022, claimed that the PML-N and PTI were considering entering negotiations with each other, as the political turmoil has deepened. The journalists Ansar Abbasi and Suhail Warraich claim that anonymous sources informed the reporters that a “soft intervention” or “grand dialogue” is under consideration. 

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 4-day period from 23 July 2022 to 27 July 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “Soft intervention” “sharif” 
  • “شریف” “مداخلت”

We found that the Capital TV clip was a source of many tweets shared on Twitter, claiming that Shehbaz Sharif has publicly endorsed soft intervention. Some examples can be found here, here, here, here and here. These tweets gathered over 5,467 interactions and reached over 1,041,036 users.

Several tweets also pointed out that this was fake news. Examples of this can be found here, here and here.These tweets gathered over 7,277 interactions and reached over 355,067 users.

Conclusion: Capital TV claimed that Shehbaz Sharif has publicly endorsed a “soft intervention” by the Pakistan Army. However, Soch Fact Check discovered this to be false and loosely based on journalists Ansar Abbasi and Suhail Warraich’s news story on anonymous sources reporting preparations for soft intervention and party negotiation between PTI and PML-N, moderated by the military. 

 

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