Do viral videos show Pakistan, India warplanes in action? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, February 27, 2019


Do viral videos show Pakistan, India warplanes in action?

Videos which have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube, and published by mainstream media in both India and Pakistan, show military jets flying at night and dropping what appear to be bombs. They went viral as India yesterday claimed it had launched an air strike which killed a large number of militants in Pakistan, a claim which Islamabad has denied.

The first video shows what appears to be an F-16 jet flying through the night sky and firing what could be bombs or flares into the darkness.

Pakistani's mainstream Urdu-language newspaper, Nawa-i-Waqt, posted the video on its Facebook page, where it had been viewed more than 17,000 times in the six hours since it was published. The post's caption says: "Immediate and timely flights by Pakistan air force planes. Indian planes ran away: DG ISPR". "DG ISPR" stands for Director General Inter Services Public Relations, or Pakistan's military spokesman. The same video was posted on an Indian Facebook account alongside claims it showed the Indian Air Force bombing "terror camps".

The video has been posted repeatedly on Facebook in both countries.

A second video which was posted on Pakistani Facebook page SiasiTV, where it has been viewed more than 20,000 times, contains similar footage of a warplane flying at night. The caption on the post claims it shows the Pakistani air force responding to the Indian incursion. The exact same footage was also posted by an Indian Facebook account, where it has been viewed 36,000 times in the five hours since it was published. The caption says: "Indian Airforce Attacks Pakistan".

A YouTube search found both videos shared in all the misleading posts actually show a 2014 air show to mark Pakistan's independence day.

An August 12, 2014 statement by Pakistan Air Force announces the night flying demonstration for the next night, August 13, 2014.

The first video used in the misleading posts was originally published on YouTube on August 14, 2014, and is headlined "Pakistan Air Force F-16 Block 52+ dispensing Flares".

The second video used in the misleading posts shows the same 2014 night flight demonstration from a different angle. This footage was posted on YouTube on September 23, 2016 with a headline: "Pakistan Airforce Islamabad night flying."

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