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What's the truth behind claims Pakistani MPs chanted 'Modi'?

By Shruti Menon
BBC Reality Check, Delhi

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Some Indian media outlets aired claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name was deliberately chanted by parliamentarians in neighbouring Pakistan during a heated debate about the recent murder of a teacher in France.

But would Pakistani MPs really chant the name of India's prime minister in their parliament?

What happened in Pakistan's parliament?

On Monday, Pakistani opposition leader Khawaja Asif - along with other MPs - was pushing for a vote on a resolution condemning the publication in France of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which led to the killing of a teacher near Paris earlier this month.

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Comments by French President Emmanuel Macron after the killing angered some in the Islamic world, and were criticised by Pakistan's prime minister.

Both the government and the opposition in Pakistan were pushing for their own resolutions on the controversy to be passed.

At one point in the debate, as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi began to address the house, opposition members started to chant "voting, voting" - calling for the resolution presented by their side, and not the government's resolution, to be voted on.

This short two-minute sequence was then broadcast without any context on Indian media channels, digital outlets and on popular social media handles with a wide reach.

Times Now, India TV, Economic Times and social media users all made the misleading claim that the opposition were shouting "Modi" (and not "voting") in order to embarrass Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Economic Times has since taken down its report, and Times Now has deleted its tweet - but its article remains on the internet with the clip of the Pakistani debate.

So was Mr Modi mentioned in parliament?

Yes, he was - but at a later point in the debate, and in a different context.

His name came up when Mr Qureshi accused the opposition of peddling "India's narrative" during the debate.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionForeign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi: Accused the opposition of being "anti-Pakistan"

During a heated exchange, Mr Qureshi claimed the opposition was trying create a rift within the armed forces and fanning what he called an "anti-Pakistan narrative".

Government supporters could then clearly be heard chanting in Urdu: "Modi ka jo yaar hai, ghaddar hai, ghaddar hai (whoever is a friend to Modi is a traitor, a traitor)".

There's no reference to this at all in the Indian reporting.

The version of the debate presented to make the claim that opposition MPs in Pakistan were chanting Narendra Modi's name has been taken completely out of context.

You can watch the parliament debate here.

There have been other examples of events in Pakistan being misrepresented in India.

Recently, the Indian media was abuzz with news that civil war had broken out in the Pakistani city of Karachi - but this was not true.

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