New Pakistan PM hit by false claim about singer 'serenading him in office'
A video has been viewed more than one million times in social media posts that claim it shows a singer serenading Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his office. The video was shared by opposition politicians who accused the new leader of ignoring the public's troubles. However, the clip shows a performance at Sharif's private residence in November 2021, months before he became prime minister.
"The Prime Minister House looks like a circus these days. If you have any doubts, just watch this video," reads an Urdu-language tweet from April 16.
The video, viewed more than 750,000 times, shows a man singing a song to Shehbaz Sharif that praises him and his party.
Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan's prime minister on April 18 after his predecessor Imran Khan was booted from power in a no-confidence vote brought by Sharif and his coalition.
Text superimposed on the video reads: "Singer and producer Farhan NTF's meeting with Shehbaz Sharif."
"Prime Minister House" refers to the government building where the premier lives.
Senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry shared the video in an apparently sarcastic tweet which accused the "dummy prime minister" of "conducting important meetings discussing the public's troubles in Prime Minister House."
Former deputy speaker of Pakistan's national assembly Qasim Khan Suri also shared the clip in a Facebook post, where it was was viewed more than 430,000 times.
The posts also sparked criticism from members of the public.
"This low life comes into the office at 7 am and does this," one person commented in Urdu.
Another appeared to accuse the new leader of misusing government resources, saying: "This beggar was supposed to end inflation and poverty, but does this."
However, the claim is false.
A reverse image search on Google found the video posted on YouTube on November 3, 2021, months before Sharif became prime minister.
The video's title reads: "'Mian De Naray Wajny e Wajny' [Slogans for Sharif are bound to be raised] Meeting With Shehbaz Shareef At His Residency."
The video was posted by a YouTube channel called "Farhan NTF Official", which is run by Pakistan-based singer Farhan NTF, according to its description.
The singer previously uploaded a full version of the same song.
Below is a screenshot comparing the video in misleading posts (left) with the video from 2021 (right).
"This meeting took place on November 3, 2021 at [Sharif's] personal residence," he says in Urdu.
"I'm a singer and an artist doesn't have any bondings. I've sung many songs for other parties as well, including PTI."
Contacted by AFP, Farhan NTF said he wrote the song for Sharif and performed it at his private home on November 3, 2021.
"When he [Sharif] found out this song didn't belong to [another Pakistani singer] and that I was the original singer, his personal assistant invited me to come to Shehbaz Sharif's home. It was an honour and I went there," he told AFP.