Shehbaz Sharif did not issue LCs for 165 Mercedes cars amid economic stress
False news of the import of 165 Mercedes cars is circulating the internet
Claim: Shehbaz Sharif has issued Letters of Credit (LC) for importing 165 Mercedes cars amidst inflation and the national financial crisis.
Fact: The claim has been debunked by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
On 9 January 2022, journalist Imran Riaz Khan tweeted an image of a breaking news headline, claiming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has approved the import of 165 Mercedes cars amidst a national financial crisis. The headline was shared without a source, attribution, or watermark on the photo. On the same day, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shireen Mazari posted an image claiming the same thing on her social media.
The claim is particularly relevant because banks in Pakistan are currently refusing to open letters of credit (LCs) for a majority of imports under explicit directives from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) as the country fights a severe shortage of dollars. This situation has brought a wide section of import-dependent industrial activity to a standstill across the country.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check determined that the claim in question is false. A reverse image search of the relevant images revealed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) in Pakistan has issued a statement on their fact-checking Twitter account (@FactCheckerMoIB) stating that the headline is false. The account is listed on the government website as an official MoIB project.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 10-day period since 9 January 2023 to 19 January 2023 using the following search terms:
- “شہباز شریف” “مرسڈیز” “165”
- “Shehbaz Sharif” “165” “mercedes”
We found posts on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Imran Riaz Khan and Shireen Mazari’s tweets here and here were viewed more than 452,400 times and collectively reached over 9,779,167 followers, gathering 25,635 Twitter interactions.
Conclusion: Shehbaz Sharif did not issue LCs for 165 Mercedes cars.