Shehbaz Sharif did not wear scarf with Palestinian flag as prime minister

Year-old photo resurfaces with misleading caption

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Claim: According to a tweet circulating online, Pakistan’s current prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, wore a scarf bearing the Palestinian flag to show his support for the Palestinian cause.

Fact: Sharif wore the flag in 2021 when he was a member of the opposition, not recently after becoming the country’s prime minister.

On 2 June 2022, Twitter user @Motherl28134473 shared a tweet with an image showing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif walking into the National Assembly of Pakistan wearing a scarf bearing the Palestinian flag.

The tweet was accompanied by the following caption:

“Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif is seen wearing a Palestinian scarf that reads “Jerusalem is ours”.”

The picture went viral shortly afterwards on multiple social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The image surfaced on social media following reports of a Pakistani-American delegation’s visit to Israel, a state that Pakistan does not officially recognize.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used Google Reverse Image Search to ascertain the source of the image and determine whether it was an old picture that has resurfaced.

We found a tweet by Tehmina Durrani — Pakistan’s First Lady and an activist — from 19 May 2021 that confirms that the image of Sharif sporting a Palestinian scarf is not a recent one.

Sharif did, in fact, wear a scarf bearing the Palestinian flag, but it was when he was a member of the opposition, not prime minister of Pakistan.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 7 May to 6 June using the following search terms:

  • “شہباز شریف فلسطینی پرچم”
  • “Shehbaz Sharif Palestinian”
  • “Shehbaz Sharif Palestine”

The first search term turned up more than 60 posts with 3,380 interactions on Facebook. The second and third search terms, meanwhile, were more popular, revealing 10,262 and 10,724 interactions across 75 and 81 posts, respectively.

Some Facebook posts that received significant traction can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. In fact, the Facebook page of the Palestinian National Authority’s news agency, Wafa News Agency – English, also shared the image. This post, which carries the screenshot of a tweet with the same photograph, was shared close to 100 times and received more than 1,200 reactions.

On Twitter, the image was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Sharif, in fact, wore the scarf with a Palestinian flag in 2021 when he was a member of the opposition, not recently after becoming the country’s prime minister.

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