Video shows family reunion, not arrested Pakistan politician Shahbaz Gill hugging children

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

After Pakistani opposition politician Shahbaz Gill was arrested on sedition charges, a video was viewed tens of thousands of times in posts that claimed it showed him in a tearful embrace with his children. However, the video has been shared in a false context. The clip shows two children who were reunited with their father after they ran away from home.

"Dr Shahbaz Gill with his children. The one who had mountain-like resolve broke down when suffering such a crime for his patriotism," reads an Urdu-language Facebook post shared on August 13.

Viewed more than 50,000 times, the accompanying video shows a man, whose face is obscured, embracing a child.

"O captain's teammate, have courage. The nation will pay back each one of your tears with their votes, God willing," the Facebook post adds.

Screenshot of the misleading post, captured on August 17, 2022

"Captain" refers to ousted Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, who led the country's World Cup-winning cricket team before entering politics.

Khan was removed from office in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April, and has since waged a political crusade against the ruling coalition that took over from him.

The government said on August 9 that Gill -- a senior member of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party -- had been arrested on charges of making seditious remarks on live TV.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah accused Gill of "seducing people towards rebellion" and "inciting mutiny and sedition in the Pakistan Army ranks and files", Dawn reported.

A local court accepted a police request to extend Gill's detention while investigations continued, The Express Tribune newspaper said on August 18.

The video was viewed more than 200,000 times in similar Facebook posts here, here and here; and on Twitter here and here.

Urdu-language newspaper Daily Qudrat also shared the claim in a report.

However, the video has been shared in a false context.

Reunited family

A keyword search for the text superimposed in the top-right corner of the video, which reads "Parwaaz", found a longer version posted on YouTube by the channel "Daily Parwaaz" on August 8.

The clip shared in false posts can be seen from the 1:25 mark.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false posts (left) and the video uploaded to YouTube (right):

Screenshot comparison of the the video in the false posts (left) and the video uploaded to YouTube (right)

The video's title reads in Urdu: "Ahad and Fahad || Unique story of two 14-year old brothers part 7 || Fed up with cruel father, kids ran away from home."

The channel posted a series of seven videos chronicling the two boys' journey.

In the videos, the children claim they ran away from home due to their abusive father, but later reconciled with him.

Anwar Ur Rehman, who runs the Daily Parwaaz's YouTube channel, said he filmed the family reunion.

"The children ran away from their father in Sialkot...I found them in [a café] in Lahore and the police and child services are involved now too," he told AFP.

He said the man in the footage was not Shahbaz Gill.