By: Annet Preethi Furtado
February 9 2024
Screenshots of the fabricated X post claiming that Maryam Nawaz Sharif announced a boycott of the Pakistani election. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
An altered screenshot shared on the polling day falsely suggests Maryam Nawaz Sharif announced that her party will boycott elections in Pakistan.
What is the claim?
On February 8, election day in Pakistan, a screenshot purporting to show an X (formerly Twitter) post by Maryam Nawaz Sharif, senior vice-president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, surfaced on social media, with the claim that the politician announced her party’s decision to boycott the polls.
The purported X post read: "Pakistan Muslim League-N announces a boycott of elections from 2024 due to not getting a level playing field; the darling is still being given the same services; the agreement between Pakistan Muslim League-N and the Istehkam Party has also been terminated (translated from Urdu).” The screenshot also showed that Maryam Sharif’s alleged post had gained ‘1.1K Views,’ ‘200 Retweets,’ and ‘200 Likes.’ Reportedly shared on ‘8 Feb 24,’ the post carried the ‘01:09 AM’ timestamp, according to the viral screenshot.
The screenshot was posted on X with captions such as "Maryam Nawaz announced the boycott of the election…" and "Election boycott was announced by Maryam Nawaz (translated from Urdu)." Archived versions of such posts can be found here, and here.
Screenshot of the viral X posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Elections for Pakistan’s 16th National Assembly were primarily a tripolar contest between Nawaz Sharif-led (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)— under the leadership of former Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is led by jailed former PM Imran Khan.
Abbad Farooq, a PTI leader, also shared the viral screenshot on his X account to claim that Maryam Sharif and her party had decided to boycott the polls. His post had garnered over 320,000 views and 3,400 likes at the time of publishing. An archived version of the post can be found here.
Screenshot of the Farooq’s X post. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the viral claim is false, and Maryam Sharif did not post any such message on her X account.
What did we find?
We found that between February 7 and 8, Maryam Sharif had published seven X posts, none of made the alleged announcement. Furthermore, we found no news reports about her alleged decision to boycott the polls in an X announcement.
We also examined the leader’s account using social media analytics website, Social Blade, and found no deleted posts for the same period.
We analysed the details of the X handles shown in the viral screenshot and observed some discrepancies.
The handle in question featured a lowercase 'm' as the first letter of ‘Maryam,’ whereas the PML-N’s official X account uses a capital 'M.'
Comparison between the altered X post and a genuine X post by Maryam Nawaz Sharif. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Furthermore, the alleged screenshot displays a timestamp of ‘01:09 AM’ on ‘8 Feb 24,’ along with high engagement metrics of ‘1.1K Views,’ ‘200 Retweets,’ and ‘200 Likes.’ However, in a standard X post, 'Retweets' are referred to as 'Reposts.'
Comparison between the altered X post and a an actual X post. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
These inconsistencies confirm that the post in question is not authentic, as it deviates from the standard post format of the microblogging platform.
Upon searching for the handle ‘@maryamNSharif’ on X, we didn't come across any verified accounts matching this account. Therefore, it is likely that the screenshot was created through digital manipulation.
As results for the polls started trickling on February 9, PML (N) and PTI both claimed to win the elections. PML-N had officially launched its general election campaign on January 15 with a rally in Punjab province. According to AP News, Maryam Sharif traveled from the eastern city of Lahore to Okara to kickstart the election campaign. News reports also stated that her party fought the elections in alliance with the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party.
Reuters reported that the elections were marred by allegations of rigging, instances of violence, and a nationwide mobile phone shutdown on polling day.
All the above evidence establishes that Maryam Sharif did not make any social media announcements about boycotting the elections, and her party contested the February 8 polls. Logically Facts has previously debunked similar claims of parties boycotting the 2024 Pakistan elections.
The viral X screenshot is a fabricated one, as no such post appears on Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s official X account. Furthermore, several discrepancies indicate that the alleged screenshot has been digitally altered. The PML-N contested the recently concluded general elections. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.