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Viral misinformation claimed that Ishaq Dar will be appointed as caretaker PM

PMLN leaders and the PDM coalition members in power have rejected this news

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Claim: The News, Geo News, Arab News Pakistan, Express Tribune, and other social media users claimed on 23 July 2023 that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) has agreed to appoint Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as the caretaker prime minister.

Fact: The claim is false. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who are both part of the PMLN committee to develop consensus on the caretaker premier’s names and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, all denied finalising any names or agreeing to appoint Ishaq Dar for the position during party meetings.

On 23 July 2023, several media outlets and social media users reported that the PMLN, the majority party in the federal government ruling coalition, had internally agreed to appoint Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar as the caretaker prime minister. The reports cited unnamed sources within the PMLN or close to Dar as confirming the decision.

Geo News, Arab News, The News, and Express Tribune were among those who published the claim. The claim was also shared on Facebook and Twitter, with many users expressing their support or criticism of the alleged move.

The claim came amid speculation over who would lead the interim government after the completion of the incumbent government’s tenure in August 2023.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check analysed the reports and found that they were based on anonymous sources and did not provide any evidence or confirmation from PMLN leaders or spokespersons. Moreover, by searching for the keywords “Dar”, “caretaker PM”, and “denied” in Google search’s News tab, we found that senior PMLN leaders had denied finalising any names for the post of caretaker PM and said that the matter was still under discussion, which is why news reports claiming PMLN has agreed to appoint Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar as the caretaker PM are false.

On 24 July 2023, Dawn News reported that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif seemingly blamed the media over reports of the PMLN looking to appoint party stalwart Ishaq Dar as the caretaker prime minister, saying that no such discussion had taken place during party meetings. He said that the issue of caretaker PM was not on the agenda of the party’s consultative meeting held on 23 July in Lahore. He added that the decision would be taken after consultation with all stakeholders, including opposition parties.

On 29 July 2023, Arab News Pakistan interviewed Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who is also part of a committee formed by the Sharif-led PMLN to develop consensus on the caretaker premier’s names. He said that no names had been finalised yet and that the media reports were based on speculation. He said that the committee would meet soon to discuss the matter and would try to reach an agreement with the opposition parties.

Asif and Iqbal, who are both part of the PMLN committee to develop consensus on the caretaker premier’s nomination, denied finalising any names or agreeing to appoint Ishaq Dar for the position.

Another PMLN leader who denied the claim that PMLN has agreed to appoint Dar for the caretaker PM slot was Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan. On 29 July 2023, he told The Nation that no one within the ruling party ever proposed the name of Dar as the next caretaker prime minister, and consequently, there was no question of rejection of his nomination by any other party in the ruling coalition.

Virality

Some of the news sources that shared the false claim were Geo News, Arab News, The News, and Express Tribune. These are some of the major news organisations in Pakistan that have a combined daily viewership of millions of people and a large online readership.

On social media, the claim was also widely shared by politicians, journalists, and activists. For example, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami tweeted that PMLN has agreed to appoint Ishaq Dar as caretaker PM. His tweet received 32,800 views, 413 retweets, 8 quotes, and 800 likes. Alina Shigri, a human rights activist, tweeted the claim. Her post received 27,900 views, 94 retweets, 4 quotes, and 236 likes.

On Facebook, the claim was posted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The claim that PMLN has agreed to appoint Ishaq Dar as the caretaker PM is false. The claim was based on unnamed sources and was denied by PMLN leaders who are involved in the decision-making process.

 

To appeal our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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