This image does not show Nawaz Sharif’s ‘cancelled’ PIA flight from UK to Pakistan
Image shows PIA flights that is currently banned in UK, US, and EU
Claim: A schedule shows a cancelled flight of Nawaz Sharif’s from the UK to Pakistan.
Fact: The image is doctored. Moreover, the picture shows PK-785, a PIA flight, which cannot possibly fly because the airline is banned from travelling to and from the UK and the EU.
On 15 September 2023, X (formerly Twitter) user @Khankamoo shared a picture (archive) apparently showing the cancelled status of former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s flight from London to Pakistan.
@Khankamoo captioned the image as follows:
“نواز شریف کی فلائٹ کینسل، شیرررررر۔۔۔
[The flight of Nawaz Sharif has been cancelled, the lion!]”
Sharif — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo who has held the prime minister’s post thrice to date — had left for the United Kingdom in 2019 on medical grounds (archive) after being handed a seven-year jail sentence over corruption charges (archive). He has denied the allegations and remained in London to date.
The formal announcement (archive) was made by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif — Nawaz’s younger brother and also a former prime minister — in London. According to The Express Tribune (archive), the statement “came on the heels of repeated announcements as well as postponements regarding the PML-N supremo’s return”.
However, Nawaz Sharif “will have a conviction waiting for him and faces other corruption charges” if he returns, according to Nikkei Asia.
Fact or Fiction?
PK-785 — the flight number for Sharif’s allegedly cancelled flight — is operated by flag-carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). However, PIA is currently banned from flying to and from the UK, the United States (US), and European Union (EU) countries despite officials claiming time and again it would resume soon. This indicates that the flight number PK-785 does not have a currently functioning route between the UK and Pakistan.
Further, we found a version of the same image from April 2022 in which some details are different.
Observing these revisions, it is evident that the recent picture in question has been doctored to replace “London to Islamabad” with “London to Lahore” and the flight date changed from 3 April 2022 to 21 October 2023. The manipulation errors are quite obvious when looking at the font and size of the text.
Conclusion: The image is doctored. Moreover, the picture shows PK-785, a PIA flight, which cannot possibly fly because the airline is banned from travelling to and from the UK and the EU.
Background image in cover photo: @MuhammadNawazSharifMNS
To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org