By: Ankita Kulkarni
July 20 2023
Woman in the viral photo wearing an army uniform is Pakistan's Major Samia Rehman, who served in the U.N. Peacemaking Force in Congo in 2019 and 2020.
A photo of a woman in military uniform posing with a certificate is being widely shared on social media with the claim that the person photographed is Seema Haider—the Pakistani woman who allegedly crossed over to India illegally to be with an Uttar Pradesh man she met on the gaming site PUBG.
Sharing the image, several social media users claimed that Seema Haider is a Pakistan army major who has been sent to spy on India. The text to one such post reads, “In a sensational revelation on #SeemaHaider, a shocking claim has been made that #SeemaHaider's real name is #SamiaRehman, and she is an #lSU agent of the #Paklstan Army whose aim was to trap the #Indian youth and settle in #India.”
However, the person in the photograph has been misidentified as Seema Haider.
Research showed us that the woman in the image is actually Major Samia Rehman from Pakistan. Rehman served in the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Force in 2019 and 2020, working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A reverse search of the photo led us to a post shared by the United Nations on its official Instagram account on March 14, 2020. The post included a photograph of the same woman from the viral post. The caption of the Instagram post read: “Major Samia Rehman from #Pakistan shares a laugh with children in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Major Rehman is #ServingForPeace with the @unpeacekeeping mission in the country.”
Logically Facts then spotted the exact viral image in an article published on March 11, 2020, on the website of MONUSCO, a French acronym for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission In The DR Congo. The article titled ‘My 8 Favourite Things About Being A Peacekeeper’ was penned by Major Samia Rehman herself. She writes about the experience of being a peacekeeper and mentions that she received an appreciation certificate, seen in the viral image, from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for her service in Congo.
The article also includes several images of her in uniform interacting with civilians and colleagues. She explains that she worked to control “violent clashes and disputes between communities and deter armed groups from violence.”
We also found a post shared by the official Twitter account of UN Peacekeeping on March 11, 2020, which said that Major Samia Rehman’s duty in Congo ended on April 6, 2020. Further research also led us to a report published on the entertainment website ‘Showbiz Pakistan’ on January 18, 2022. The report also identified the woman from the viral photo as Major Rehman, who was also recently seen playing a character named after herself in a television series called 'Sinf-e-Aahan.'
Who is Seema Haider?
According to a Hindustan Times report, Seema Haider, a 27-year-old married woman, entered India via Nepal with her four children to be with a man named Sachin Meena, whom she fell in love with while playing an online game called PUBG (PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds). The couple was arrested on July 4 for entering India ‘illegally’ and providing shelter to Haider among other charges. They were granted bail three days later but were detained by the Uttar Pradesh Anti Terror Squad on July 17 for questioning. Following this, concerns have been raised as she could be a potential threat to national security. However, an investigation is still underway.
Several media outlets have also carried Seema Haider’s photographs in their reports, and none of the photos match the viral image. Therefore, it is evident that the image in question is of Pakistani Major Samia Rehman and not Seema Haider.
A Pakistan Major, Samia Rehman, has been falsely identified as Seema Haider, who recently crossed the Pakistani border to be with a man in India. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.