Journalist Benazir Shah’s exclusive report featured on Geo News highlighted the misleading claims of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) numerous ministers and government officials.
Since the PTI came to power in 2018, its lawmakers and officials have made the most of ‘fake news’ and used it to discredit journalists, media organisations, and the party’s opponents.
“The offending language is often used to distort the truth and to undermine journalism, which aims to keep the powerful in check. When in reality those handing out the label of ‘fake news’ have occasionally stumbled themselves, especially when communicating with the public. A large number of ministers and government officials from the ruling party have fallen for false and misleading claims. In some instances, clarifications are issued, but in others, no corrections have been made to date,” read the report.
September 2021: Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan claims that Quaid-e-Azam went to jail
Claim: Minister of State, Ali Muhammad Khan while speaking on 92 News programme, ‘Hard Talk Pakistan with Moeed Pirzada’ said, “We made the country. In 1947, my grandfather, Muhammad Wakeel Khan, went jail with Quaid-e-Azam.”
Truth: There is no claim to the fact that the founder of Pakistan was ever arrested.
August 2021: The ministry of information released a report, which incorrectly flag pro-state tweets as ‘anti-state’
Claim: A report was released by the Digital Media Wing (DMW) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting titled, ‘Anti-State Trends: Deep Analytics Report’. It was deeply misleading and based on assumptions instead of facts.
“The purpose of this report was to ascertain factual data and to analyse social media trends that were anti-state, Data was collected after analysing Pakistan Twitter Panel from June 2019- August 2021. Those hashtags were marked for data collection where the content of tweets was planned and propagated through a network to spread anti-state trends,” General Manager of the Digital Media Wing (DMW), Imran Ghazali told The Current.
Truth: The report seemed to declare all the users in the report as anti-state until one prominent journalist reached out to the government and they eventually added the disclaimer after the report was published.
June 2020: Minister of State Zartaj Gul claimed that ‘Covid-19’ actually has 19-points, hence the name
Claim: Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, while speaking on PTV said that Covid-19 actually has 19 points, which can be applied to any country to combat coronavirus.
Truth: Covid-19 is actually a short form for Coronavirus disease.
June 2020: Prime Minister Imran Khan misquotes Allama Iqbal
Claim: In a tweet, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan shared an image, which had poetry written on it along with Allama Iqbal’s picture, and wrote, “This poem by Iqbal reflects how I try to lead my life. I urge our youth to understand and absorb the poem of the great Iqbal and I guarantee them that it will release their great God-given potential that we all possess as His greatest creation Ashraf ul Mukhluqat.”
Truth: PM Khan later tweeted, “I stand corrected – this is not Allama Iqbal’s poem but the message conveyed is what I have stood by and tried to follow.”
May 2020: Minister Murad Saeed insists the governor of New York wants to follow Pakistan’s model of contact tracing
Claim: Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, while addressing the National Assembly, said that the governor of New York wanted to follow Pakistan’s model of contact tracing after PM Khan gave the concept of smart lockdown.
Truth: As per the report published on Geo, not a single briefing of the governor was found stating the claim made by the minister.
September 2019: Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari shares incorrect video
Claim: Minister of Human Rights Shireen Mazari shared an incorrect video on Twitter and wrote, “Indian occupation forces can’t even bare to see fruit trees live in IOJK – lest the Muslim Kashmiris eat the fruit. Such is the barbarism of the Rogue Modi Govt’s fascist hate-filled mindset. #Kashmir”
Truth: The video shared was from Himachal Pradesh, 2018 when India, after a court order against illegal forest encroachment, ordered the trees to be chopped.
May 2019: Minister Fawad Chaudhry claims that the Hubble telescope was sent into space by Suparco
Claim: Fawad Chaudhry while speaking on Geo News programme, Naya Pakistan said that the Hubble telescope was sent into space by Suparco, the national space agency of Pakistan.
Truth: Hubble was deployed by NASA.
However, the ruling party reacted to the report.