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February 12, 2020

Fake news about COAS’s London presence spreads on social media

Top Story

February 12, 2020

COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Photo: file

LONDON: Fake news circulated through Twitter that Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa is in London took the social media by storm, leading to intense speculations and discussion about the ongoing political situation as well as the future politics of Pakistan.

A few Twitter accounts claimed that the COAS and Major General Asif Ghafoor, the former DG ISPR, are in London and holding important meetings.

The tweets spread like wildfire in a dry jungle and discussions broke out in Whatsapp groups and social media as to the purpose of the visit. The Tweets also claimed that the military leadership is staying in a hotel on a walking distance from Avenfield flats, the place where Nawaz Sharif is staying with his sons Hasan and Hussain Nawaz.

The News has learnt from multiple sources, both in the Pakistani government and PML-N that the tweets were factually wrong. Neither the COAS nor the former DG ISPR was in London.

The credible source said that both the army chief and former DG ISPR have notbeen in London for many months. Its understood that the former DG ISPR was in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah around the time of speculation.

Sources said that a few serving and retired military officers were in London to take part in a few seminars on security on South Asian by a leading think-tank in London and for few official meetings but none of the military leaders, as claimed, were in London.

Sources said the news circulated on social media was a fictional work and had no basis in truth. They said that Pakistan High Commission protocol was engaged as usual with the official delegation and some of the activities of the delegation, as reported by this paper on February 9, 2020 were public.

The News had reported about a seminar at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) and Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS), which was attended by current and retired military officials from Pakistan.

The delegation stayed in London for a week and then left for Pakistan on the weekend. A PML-N source termed this unfortunate that social media was used to spread news as if the military leadership is engaged in discussions with Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, both of whom are in London.

Claims were made on social media that meetings will take place between the military leaders with politicians in London but not only that no meeting took place, all speculations in this regard turned out to be fake.

The PML-N sources said that Nawaz Sharif is in London for treatment and he’s not holding any talks with anyone. The source said that Shahbaz Sharif has not held any meeting with anyone on Pakistani politics.