AFP Fact Check terms Bilawal’s video about ‘calling to make rich richer’ false

Bilawal thanks AFP Fact Check for exposing PTI as a propaganda machine against him

Published: 08:57 PM, 28 Feb, 2023
AFP Fact Check terms Bilawal’s video about ‘calling to make rich richer’ false
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Over the issue of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s viral video on Social media about ‘calling people to make the rich richer’, AFP Fact Check termed this clip a false and trimmed in its analysis report.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday thanked to AFP Fact Check for exposing the rival PTI’s propaganda video against him on social media.

Bilawal Bhutto in a tweet on Tuesday said, “PTI is just a propaganda machine, not a political party. Thanks to @APFactCheck for exposing their lies.

AFP Fact Check Analysis Report:

Pakistan politicians falsely claim foreign minister advocated making rich richer

A video of Pakistan's foreign minister has been shared by opposition politicians falsely claiming it shows him calling to "make the rich richer" at a time when an economic crisis gripped the country. 

However, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was in fact criticising the idea that everyone benefits from policies that boost the wealth of the country's richest people.

The video was shared on Twitter here by Khurram Sher Zaman, a lawmaker from the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, on February 26, 2023.

It shows Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saying in Urdu: "If you make the rich richer, then maybe they will employ more people which will improve the economy."

The Urdu-language tweet appears to mock Bhutto Zardari, saying: "After listening to him, I realise why Sindh province is in such terrible condition to this day.

"If people who think like this will be your leaders then you can imagine what the country and the peoples' condition will be. May Allah have mercy on the people of Sindh and free them from people who think like this."

Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) heads the provincial government in Sindh, which the World Bank said was "disproportionately affected" by floods that submerged a third of the country in 2022.

The video circulated as Pakistan sought to secure a vital cash injection from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with the country in the grip of a major economic crisis.

Years of financial mismanagement and political instability have pushed Pakistan's economy to the brink of collapse, exacerbated by a global energy crisis and the 2022 floods.

The country's tumbling economy mirrors its political chaos, as former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan heaps pressure on the ruling coalition in a bid to force early elections.

The video was viewed over 100,000 times in similar posts by seemingly pro-PTI accounts on Twitter here, here, here and here; and on Facebook here, here, here and here.

It was also shared on Twitter by PTI leader Lal Chand Malhi. The video, however, has been shared in a false context.

Social welfare speech

A keyword search for recent speeches by Bhutto Zardari led to this longer video published on YouTube by Pakistan's private TV channel on February 25.

An analysis of the video shows the misleading video quoted Bhutto Zardari mid-sentence, and the foreign minister was in fact criticising the idea that helping the rich to become richer will eventually benefit everyone.

Bhutto Zardari's full quote can be heard from the YouTube video's 7:43 mark.

He says: "All around the world there are political parties that think that if you make the rich richer, then maybe they will employ more people which will improve the economy.

"But there are only a few rich people in every country; no matter how many people they employ they cannot improve the entire country's condition."

A video of Bhutto Zardari's speech was also uploaded to the Facebook page of PPP, with the corresponding section beginning at its 7:27 mark.

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