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Old picture goes viral with claim that Sheikh Rashid is ‘hiding’ in hospital

Photograph is from 2019 when Sheikh Rashid was hospitalised due to heart issues

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Claim: A picture shows former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lying in a hospital bed after it was claimed he checked in there to “hide” from the consequences of his past actions.

Fact: The picture is not recent and is, in fact, from 2019, when Sheikh Rashid was admitted to a hospital after experiencing pain in his chest during an event in Rawalpindi. He is currently not in the hospital.

On 11 August 2022, 92 News talk show host Dr Danish posted a picture of Awami Muslim League (AML) president and former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lying in a hospital bed and captioned it as follows:

“شہباز گل کے کے بعد اداروں کو دھمکی دینے والا پاکستان و پارلیمنٹ کو آگ لگانے والا اور خون کی ندیاں بہانے والا آج کل شیخ رشید ترم خان خوف سے اسپتال میں جا چھپے [After [the arrest of] Shahbaz Gill, Sheikh Rashid ‘Turram Khan’, who threatened the institutions, set the Parliament and Pakistan ablaze, and shed rivers of blood, is now hiding in a hospital out of fear.]”

‘Turram Khan’ is a slang in Urdu and Hindi used for someone who boasts or brags about themself.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used a combination of keywords and date-specific terms on the organic search tool of Facebook and its content discovery and social monitoring platform, CrowdTangle, to ascertain the source of the image.

The image was posted by several Facebook pages and accounts in 2019. The earliest post we could find was posted by ‘Ch Farooq Gondal’ on 19 November 2019, while ‘Chilianwala News’ and ‘Rizwan Niazi’ shared it the next day and ‘Malik Sarfraz Awan Pti’ the day after.

The post by ‘Ch Farooq Gondal’ contained two pictures; the aforementioned image of Rashid in a hospital bed and a screenshot of an Express News report in Urdu stating that Sheikh Rashid was moved to a hospital after experiencing pain in his chest during an event in Rawalpindi. He was first taken to the Holy Family Hospital before being shifted to the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC).

Soch Fact Check also discovered that the image was wrongly shared in 2020 when Sheikh Rashid was admitted to the Pak Emirates Military Hospital Rawalpindi (PEMH) for COVID-19 treatment.

The image was broadcast by Dunya News at the 42-second mark in its 3 PM headlines on 14 June 2020, archived here, and YouTube channel Waqar Malik Khokhar 360 at the 0:39 mark, archived here. Express News ran the report at the 2:31 mark in its 6 PM headlines on 14 June 2020 and the picture of Rashid can be seen in its thumbnail. It was posted here on Twitter as well. In 2021, it was shared on the verified YouTube channel of 24 News.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed (@shkhrasheed1)

Rashid posted an actual image from his stay at PEMH to his Instagram account here on 18 June 2020.

In fact, the day after the image in question went viral in 2022, Rashid was speaking at a press conference, which can be seen live here, here, here, and here.

In his 12 August 2022 press briefing, the former minister referred to the old image being reshared on social media, saying, “See, even yesterday, a picture of me from the corona time [when he was admitted for treatment for COVID-19], actually from before that, in a hospital bed has been run [on social media]… They’re waiting for the time when I die.

Sheikh Rashid added, “I will die [someday] whether it be soon. When I die, they will lift up the kafan [cerement] to check if I have actually died or not. This is politics for a mere seat and they can’t bear that. The people who have run this [old] picture, I don’t know what to say.”

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 10-13 August period using the following search terms, with results filtered to ‘photos only’:

  • “شیخ رشید”
  • “شیخ رشید ہسپتال”
  • “شیخ رشید اسپتال”
  • “شیخ رشید صحت”

The first and second search terms showed 36,443 interactions across 226 posts and 2,183 interactions across 29 posts, whereas the third and fourth ones turned up eight posts with 798 interactions and 17 posts with 2,694 interactions.

The image also appeared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook, while on Twitter, it was found here and here.

Conclusion: The picture is not recent and is, in fact, from 2019 when Sheikh Rashid was hospitalised due to chest pains. He is currently not in the hospital.

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