Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) and his Malaysia's counterpart Mahathir Mohamad (C) along with other officials look at a jets performing during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2019. (Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM / AFP)

Hoax news reports claim Pakistani government hired former army general to head medical regulatory body

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter claim that the Pakistani government has appointed a retired army general as the head of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), a regulatory agency that oversees the county’s entire medical profession. The claim, however, is false; the claim was made in a hoax news report and the government has made no such appointment.

The claim was published on January 21, 2021 a Facebook page called “Vocabulary and Dawn News’ Informative Articles”, which has more than 50,000 followers.

The page's profile picture is identical to the logo of major Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn, which can be seen here.

The post shows a photo of retired Lieutenant General Asif Mumtaz Sukhera and has a caption that reads: “Lieutenant Retired General Asif Mumtaz appointed as Chairman Pakistan Medical Commission PMC.”

A screenshot taken on January 25, 2021 of the misleading Facebook post

The post circulated as the current government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan faces criticism for appointing senior army officials to top civilian jobs.

Similar claims about Sukhera being appointed to head the PMC were also made on Facebook here, here and here and on Twitter here, here and here.

However, the claim is false.

A reverse image search found that the photo of Sukhera shared in the posts is from an army ceremony in 2016. It was published on an official Pakistani military Facebook page here on August 26, 2016.

Below is a screenshots comparison of the 2016 military Facebook post (L) and false post shared on the imposter Facebook page (R): 

A screenshots comparison of the 2016 military Facebook post (L) and false post shared on the imposter Facebook page (R)

Moreover, the PMC is led by a president and not a chairman, as the posts claim. 

The current president of the commission is Dr Arshad Taqi, as noted on the PMC’s website here

A screenshot taken on January 25, 2021, of Pakistan Medical Commission website

Sukhera, however, is currently serving as a member of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, as noted on the commission’s website