Video of Pakistan influencer dancing falsely shared in posts mocking foreign minister

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A video has been viewed more than one million times in social media posts that falsely claim it shows Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dancing to a song from a controversial scene in a Bollywood film. In reality, the clip shows a social media influencer dancing with an actress.

"Pakistan's foreign minister dancing on Besharam rang song," reads a Hindi-language Facebook post shared on January 23.

Pakistan's foreign minister is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of the country's former leader Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007.

"Besharam Rang" is a song from the movie "Pathaan", which smashed Indian box office records following its release in January.

Hardline Hindu groups had called for the movie to be banned over a scene where an actress dances to "Besharam Rang" wearing a saffron-coloured bikini -- a colour associated with their religion.

The Facebook post adds: "Looks like he's found a new way of begging", in an apparent reference to former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan's taunt that his successor Shehbaz Sharif is travelling the world begging for finance to bolster the crippled economy.

Screenshot of the false Facebook post taken on January 27, 2023.

The video was widely viewed in similar posts, including more than 1.6 million times in a tweet, and also on Facebook here and here.

Many social media users appeared to believe the man in the video was Bhutto Zardari.

"Benazir's soul would be watching this from heaven," one wrote.

"Last thing Shah Rukh needed is promoting his film by Pakistan FM," another said, referring to Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan who stars in the movie.

Pakistan social media influencer

A reverse search of keyframes in the video and keyword searches on Google found a similar video posted on YouTube by Pakistani social media influencer Mehroz Baig.

Baig's channel, which has more than 17,000 subscribers, features various clips of his dance performances.

The video, posted on January 13, shows Baig dancing to "Besharam Rang" alongside Pakistani actress Inaya Khan. The video is shot from a different angle to the clip shared in false social media posts.

Khan shared the video in an Instagram post where she tagged Baig.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in a false post (left) and Baig's YouTube video (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in a false post (left) and Baig's YouTube video (right)

Baig confirmed to AFP that he was the man dancing in the video.

"This event took place on 8th January at Sunset Club Karachi, where I performed with Inaya Khan at her sister's wedding," he said on January 26.

Various Indian media outlets reported on the case of mistaken identity, including the Hindustan Times and the Free Press Journal, which described Baig as a Bhutto Zardari "lookalike".