Siasat.pk attributes false quote about PDM formation to Mohammad Zubair
Zubair told Soch Fact Check that he never made such a statement
Claim: Mohammad Zubair confessed that his meetings with General Qamar Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed led to the establishment of the PDM.
Fact: Zubair has denied making any such statement.
“پی ڈی ایم کا قیام میری جنرل قمر باجوہ اور جنرل فیض حمید سے ملاقاتوں کے نتیجے میں سامنے آیا- محمد زبیر کا بڑا انکشاف [The establishment of PDM came about as a result of my meetings with General Qamar Bajwa and General Faiz Hameed – Mohammad Zubair’s big confession]”
Mohammad Zubair is a prominent leader in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and has previously served as a state minister and held the position of Governor of Sindh.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — which comprises various political parties — came into being in 2020, during former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s tenure.
The PDM was never an electoral coalition, but rather a movement aimed at removing Khan from power. After Khan’s government was ousted, the PDM coalition led by Shehbaz Sharif took over. He was succeeded by the current interim prime minister, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, who came into power with the responsibility to hold elections.
The visual posted by Siasat.pk features Zubair, Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, alongside the former chiefs of the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Gen (r) Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lt Gen (r) Faiz Hameed.
In this article, Soch Fact Check investigates the quotes attributed to Zubair, not the claim that the military or the ISI were involved in the creation of the PDM.
Fact or Fiction?
To verify the veracity of this claim, Soch Fact Check reached out to Zubair, who said, “My answer is very simple: The PDM was not formed as a result of my meeting with the two generals [Gen (r) Qamar Bajwa and Lt Gen (r) Faiz Hameed].
The PML-N leader continued, “What were the motivations behind it? Why was the PDM formed? Obviously, it was a joint opposition alliance against Imran Khan’s government but I had no role in that. I was not involved in the making of that [PDM]. So the two things are absolutely independent of each other, which is basically [that] my meetings with General Bajwa and the formation of [the] PDM are not interlinked.
“I don’t know if anyone has such a thing [linkage] in their mind but I never had something like that in my mind. Because I found out about it [the formation of the PDM] just like any other PML-N member did,” he added.
Zubair also denied (archive) the viral quote publicly on X (formerly Twitter), terming it “WRONG” and saying, “I clearly said I had nothing to do with the creation of PDM. I was not involved in its creation.”
— Mohammad Zubair (@Real_MZubair) January 1, 2024
In its social media posts, Siasat.pk included a link (archive) to a longer article. We dug deeper into the claim and found that it originated from a column written by journalist Javed Chaudhry. We looked through Chaudhry’s column, available on his website (archive), and found the section where the claim is made; it reads,
“’بہر حال میری کوشش رنگ لائی اور میاں نواز شریف اور مریم نواز کو سپیس مل گئی۔ مریم صاحبہ کی خبریں چلنا شروع ہو گئیں اور 20 ستمبر 2020ء کو پی ڈی ایم بن گئی۔‘ میں نے ان سے پوچھا ’کیا پی ڈی ایم آپ کے مذاکرات کا نتیجہ تھی؟‘ زبیر صاحب کا جواب تھا ’ہاں ایک وجہ یہ بھی تھی۔‘
میں نے پوچھا ’میٹنگ کے بعد کیا ہوا؟‘ زبیر صاحب کا جواب تھا ’میں نے میاں نواز شریف کو ملاقات کی تفصیل سے مطلع کر دیا۔ مجھے اس کے بعد جو بتایا گیا میں وہ پیغام لے کر 7 ستمبر 2020ء کو دوبارہ آرمی چیف سے ملا اور اس مرتبہ جنرل فیض حمید بھی میٹنگ میں موجود تھے۔ یہ ملاقات بھی طویل تھی اور اس میں بھی بہت کچھ طے ہوا۔‘ میں نے پوچھا ’کیا عمران خان کی حکومت کے خاتمے کا فیصلہ اس میٹنگ میں ہوا تھا؟‘ یہ بولے ’میں یہ دعوی نہیں کرتا، مگر آپ بعد کے تمام واقعات دیکھ لیں، میری میٹنگ 7 ستمبر کو ہوئی، پی ڈی ایم 20 ستمبر کو بنی، اور پھر عمران خان کی حکومت دن بہ دن کم زور ہوتی چلی گئی‘”
Translated to English, it reads,
“[Zubair said,] ‘However, my efforts paid off and Mian Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz got a space [in the political arena after their speeches were flagged and banned from being aired on the media]. News pertaining to Maryam [Nawaz] was aired on 20 September 2020, the PDM was formed.’ I [Chaudhry] asked him if the PDM was the result of his negotiations [with the military brass]. Zubair’s answer was, ‘Yes, this was one of the reasons.’
I asked, ‘What happened after the meeting?’ Zubair’s reply was, ‘I informed Mian Nawaz Sharif about the details of the meeting. I met the Army Chief again on 7 September 2020 with the message I was told [to convey] and, this time, General Faiz Hameed was also present in the meeting. This meeting was also long and a lot was decided in it. I asked, ‘Was the decision to bring an end to Imran Khan’s government taken in this meeting?’ He [Zubair] said, ‘I am not making this claim. But you look at what transpired subsequently, my meeting was held on 7 September, the PDM was formed on 20 September, and then Imran Khan’s government became less powerful day by day.”
WRONG. Totally misquoted. https://t.co/dibTtT0sM0
— Mohammad Zubair (@Real_MZubair) January 2, 2024
Therefore, Siasat.pk’s posts attributing the quote to Mohammad Zubair are false.
To be clear, Soch Fact Check is not investigating the claim that the military or the ISI had any involvement in the creation of the PDM.
The post by @siasatpk has been viewed more than 86,200 times, as of writing time.
Soch Fact Check also found the post on the Facebook page of Siasat.pk here where it has been shared close to 200 times. Both the X and Facebook posts contain the link to the longer article, which includes a vlog (archive) by Talon News HD anchorperson Asad Ullah Khan, who has over 258,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.
At the 04:57 mark, Asad Ullah Khan says, “He [Zubair] is not telling that the formula to form the PDM was agreed upon in this meeting but he’s hinting at it. Many important meetings took place, many important decisions were made, and then you see that the PDM was formed on 20 September. This is Mohammad Zubair himself giving the hint.
At the 08:59 mark, he says, “And Mohammad Zubair believes that the PDM was formed because of him and that he played his role in it by meeting Gen (r) Bajwa and convincing him to form the PDM.”
The primary visual in question was also separately shared by ARY News anchorperson Sabir Shakir (archive) and Pakistani anchor and YouTuber Imran Riaz Khan (archive); the respective number of views each post gained are over 360,900 and 384,100.
Siasat.pk doubled down on its claim on 2 January 2024 — it was viewed more than 110,300 times — and posted (archive) in the thread a snippet from Geo News talk show host Shahzad Iqbal’s interview of Zubair in his programme, “Naya Pakistan.” Shakir posted (archive) the same clip, with the caption, “پی ڈی ایم کیسے بنی ؟ [How was the PDM formed?]”
However, Zubair responded to Shakir’s post and wrote (archive), “Sabir bhai have a heart – I am clearly saying ‘ mera faisla tu nahi tha’Pls don’t falsely attribute things.” Soch Fact Check verified this and the PML-N leader did say the PDM’s formation was “not my decision”.
Conclusion: Zubair has denied making any such statement.
Background image in cover photo: @pml.n.official
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