Video shows Pakistani protest against taxes in 2017, not government policies in 2023
A video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times alongside a false claim that it shows protests in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region against a range of government measures in early January 2023. While there were genuine demonstrations in the region in January, the video actually shows scenes from protests against taxation measures that were imposed in 2017.
The video was shared here on Twitter on January 5, 2023. It has been viewed more than 232,000 times.
"Protest in GB against GB Government and CM GB and land grabbing, deductions in wheat Quota and unavailability of electricity entered into 9th day," the video's English-language caption reads.
"Despite -16 degree Celsius massive number of people are participating in the demonstration. While our Media is ignoring #GB_strike."
The video shows a sea of people chanting and marching along a street.
The video circulated online with the false claim as residents in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region took to the streets to protest against taxation, austerity measures and alleged land grabbing by the state, local outlet Dawn News reported on January 9, 2023.
The protest group Awami Action Committee Gilgit Baltistan has been posting updates about the demonstrations on its Facebook page since the beginning of January.
While Pakistan has administered GB since 1947, it does not hold provincial status and is part of a larger territorial dispute with arch-rival India over the Kashmir region, AFP reported.
Pakistan's economy has crumbled alongside a simmering political crisis, with the rupee plummeting and inflation at decades-high levels, while devastating floods and a major shortage of energy have piled on further pressure.
The video was shared with a similar false claim on Twitter here, here, here and here; and on Facebook here.
It was also shared here under a similar claim by the Dubai-based television news channel Al Arabiya.
However, the video does not show a recent protest.
A reverse image and keyword search on Google found a matching video shared here on Twitter by Gilgit-based journalist Shabbir Mir on December 26, 2017.
"Chalo chalo Gilgit chalo" [come on Gilgit, let's go] is protest rally organised in Skardu today.Its (sic) part of the #AntiTaxMovement launched by traders and #AwamiActionCommittee to force govt to undo taxes till #GB representation in parliament," the English-language caption reads.
Below is a screenshot comparing the video in the false posts (left) with the clip from 2017 (right):
The video was also shared here in another social media post in December 2017 with a similar caption about a taxation protest in Gilgit.
Dawn News also reported on the protests at the time and used an image showing similar scenes to the video in the false posts.
According to Dawn's report, protesters marched against the imposition of taxes at Gilgit's Yadgar Chowk.
"GB people had been paying taxes like those living in other parts of the country, but they did not enjoy all rights of a citizen of the country," it reads.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false posts (left) and the image published in the Dawn News report (right):
The same location can be seen here in a user's photo tagged on Google Maps.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the false posts (left) and the image on Google Maps (right):