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Viral video of celebration at Sialkot clock tower is not from July 2022

Old video shared with false claim after SC’s verdict in Punjab CM re-elections

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Claim: A viral video shows people celebrating in Sialkot after the Pakistan Supreme Court announced on 26 July 2022 that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Pervez Elahi would be the new Chief Minister of Punjab.

Fact: The video surfaced on social media in January 2022 and depicts new year celebrations in Sialkot. The video is not connected in any way to the recent Supreme Court decision.

On 27 July 2022, Twitter user Zaheer Ahmed posted a video with the caption “This is Sialkot 26-7-2022 where huge number of Pakistanis celebrating the victory of Imran Khan”.

The video went viral after the Supreme Court announced on 26 July 2022 that PTI candidate Pervez Elahi would serve as the new Chief Minister of Punjab, rejecting the prior ruling of the provincial assembly deputy speaker which saw PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz temporarily take on the heavily contested post.

Fact or Fiction?

The viral video shows a large crowd of people chanting and celebrating with fireworks exploding in the sky by the Sialkot Clock Tower, also known as Iqbal Square, situated in Saddar Bazar, Sialkot Cantonment, Pakistan.

A few comments on the 27 July 2022 Twitter post sharing the video suggested the clip was old. Soch Fact Check conducted a Reverse Image Search on Google which led to this video which was posted to Facebook in January 2022.

Additionally, a keyword search on Google turned up a Youtube video posted by a digital channel Sialkot Plus on 1 January 2022. The 8-minute long video is titled “Sialkot New Year Night 2022” and scenes from the 25-second viral video can be seen at different points of the clip.

The 25-second video was also shared by Twitter user Sheikh Abdullah here on 1 January 2022. It was also posted here and here on Youtube on the same day.

Comparison of screenshots from video shared in July 2022 (left) and Jan 2022 (right)

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 3-day period from 25 July to 28 July 2022 using the following search term:

  • “Sialkot clock tower”

The keyword received 5,000 interactions across 20 public video posts on Facebook. The video in question was shared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

On Twitter, the post by Zaheer Ahmed received 2,269 likes and 746 retweets. The video was also shared with the false claim here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Conclusion:  A viral video allegedly depicts people celebrating the recent Supreme Court announcement that Pervez Elahi will serve as the new Punjab chief minister. However, the video is not from July 2022 but from January 2022 and shows people in Sialkot celebrating the new year.

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