Decorations around Dubai's Burj Khalifa on January 2, 2019 ( AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE)

Burj Khalifa did not display Pakistan PM message ahead of confidence vote

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Politicians from Pakistan's ruling party have shared a video, viewed thousands of times online, that appears to show the Burj Khalifa illuminated with a message from Prime Minister Imran Khan as he faced a no-confidence vote. However, a representative for the iconic landmark said the video wasn't real and a Twitter user said they made the clip using visual effects.

"PM Imran Khan's video displayed on Burj Khalifa," reads a Facebook post from March 24.

The video, viewed more than 9,000 times, appears to show a clip of Khan speaking projected onto the world's tallest construction, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The footage of the former cricketing star speaking was taken from a March 24 address in which he urged supporters to rally in the capital Islamabad ahead of a confidence vote that could see him out of office.

Khan is facing the biggest challenge to his rule since being elected in 2018, with opponents accusing him of dragging the country into deeper economic turmoil. 

Text reading "Noxious_Numaira" is superimposed on the video.

Screenshot of a Facebook post sharing the false claim, taken on March 30, 2022

Lawmakers from Khan's ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Sajid Khan and Aqib Ullah Khan also shared the video, and it was picked up by accounts that expressed support for the leader on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Some social media users appeared to believe the footage genuinely showed Khan's speech projected onto the Burj Khalifa.

"This message is for Pakistani community living in UAE... they have to attend in Islamabad," one person commented.

"Lovely news," another wrote.

However, the video is a digital creation.

"This video is not real," a representative for Emaar, the property developer that built Burj Khalifa, told AFP.

She said the landmark had "never before" displayed images of Khan, as of March 28, 2022.

The Burj Khalifa's website, Instagram and Twitter did not feature any pictures or information about showing Khan's image. 

Meanwhile, a keyword search for text superimposed on the footage, "Noxious_Numaira", found the clip posted on an eponymous Twitter account on March 24.

In a subsequent tweet on March 27, the user posted a screenshot of the comments section of a post sharing the video and said: "This is amazing. The video has my Twitter handle watermarked and my YouTube channel is linked.

"I’ve mentioned in both places that I edit videos/pics. Now if people still think it’s true then I'm the goddess of VFX. It's not my fault people think it's real." 

Below is a screenshot comparing the video in the false posts (left) with the original video (right):

Screenshot comparing the video in the false posts (L) with the original video (R)

 

The user posted similar videos of Khan using digital effects on Twitter and YouTube.

AFP has previously debunked misleading posts about images displayed on the Burj Khalifa here and here.