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Video does not show protests in Gilgit-Baltistan in 2023

Old clip from 2017 went viral on social media with misleading claim

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Claim: A video shows a massive crowd protesting in Gilgit-Baltistan against the government in January 2023.

Fact: The claim is misleading because the video is not from the 2023 demonstrations but from 2017, when people protested against taxation rules in the region.

On 8 January 2023, a Facebook user posted a video with an Urdu caption that, when translated into English, reads, “Intense protests have been going on for a week in Gilgit-Baltistan against the imposition of taxes, land grabbing, load shedding and reduction in wheat quota.”

The video went viral after people protested in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) against taxation, austerity measures and alleged land grabbing by the state government.

The 11-second video circulating online shows people marching in the street and chanting against the government.

Fact or Fiction?

To investigate the claim, Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search on the video keyframes. Google Lens results led to a news story published by Dawn on 27 December 2017. The article title reads, “March against imposition of taxes begins in GB.”

According to Dawn’s report, protesters marched against the imposition of taxes at Gilgit’s Yadgar Chowk. The story reads, “GB people had been paying taxes like those living in other parts of the country, but they did not enjoy all rights of a citizen of the country”.  Dawn’s article used an image showing similar scenes to the video in the misleading posts.

The Daily Guardian, an English-language Indian media outlet, also published a report on the protest against tax laws in the region in October 2017. An image similar to the video was also used in the news report.

A Gilgit-based news outlet Pamir Times also posted a similar image as that of the scenes from the false video in their news report published on 29 December 2017.

Virality

An organic search on Facebook showed that the video with the misleading claim was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here between 7 – 18 January 2023.

The video was also posted here by Agha Jaffar – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) organiser in the Pishin district of Balochistan. The video received 5.3k views and 400 likes.

On Twitter, the video was posted here on 5 January 2023 and received 232.8k views.

Conclusion: The video of a massive crowd marching and protesting at Yadgar chowk Gilgit-Baltistan is not from January 2023. The video is from 2017 when the public protested against tax laws imposed by the state government in the region.

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