Media outlets fall for IPS officer’s false claim about Pak baby smuggled in a bag to Dubai

A 24-second video showing a baby found hidden inside a duffle bag is viral on social media. HGS Dhaliwal, an Executive Director of Security at the Airport Authority of India, had shared the video on September 15 with the caption – “Baby Bagged!! A 5 month old baby was kidnapped and carried to Dubai from Karachi inside a Travel Bag. Fortunately, it was detected at Dubai Airport and the baby was found safe!!”

Soon after the tweet went viral, multiple media outlets – Mirror Now, The Tribune, Latestlywrote articles based on the claims made by Dhaliwal.

Old video

The video in question was earlier shared by a Twitter user on Jun 24, 2019. It attracted 2 million views.

A text search on Facebook revealed to us that the same video was shared by one Parvez Khan on November 4, 2018. It

Origins of the clip

A Twitter user had commented that the bag and the accessories seen in the video are of Saudi Arabian brand, Al-Saniedi.

Taking this as a hint, we performed a time-search on Twitter for the word ‘baby’ in Arabic (طفل and الطفل) and found an October 2018 tweet by a user @ProfAlsaadi. 

The video shared by @ProfAlsaadi carried a watermark which read ‘noash_a’.

While we were unable to locate the same video posted by @noash_a, we found another video of the same baby shared by him. This was tweeted as a reply to a user who shared the clip of the baby in a duffle bag and demanded that the ‘perpetrator’ be punished. @noash_a replied, “This is the same child who is active and this is his father enjoying his time in the desert and you stay on Twitter and no one notices or reads anything about you.” (Translated from Arabic.)

A comparison of the facial features of the baby reveals that s/he is the same child.

Given below is the sequence of events observed by Alt News:

1. The video was first shared with an Arabic caption. This was between October 28 and 29, 2018. @noash_a seems to be the creator of the video. The fact that he uploaded another clip of the baby suggests that he might not be a stranger to the child.

2. The video was subsequently shared with a completely different narrative on October 31, 2018. Here, an Arabic page on Facebook claimed that the video represents a Filipino maid kidnapping a baby. However, the second part of the video which shows the alleged woman was not shot at the same location. From what it seems, two different clips were merged to support the claim.

القبض على خادمه فلبينية حاولت خطف طفل من ذويه في شنطة سفر . وعمل أعمال سحر له

Posted by ‎الشرقيه 2050..Al sharqia‎ on Wednesday, 31 October 2018

3. From the next month onwards, i.e., November 2018, the video began to be shared with the ‘Pakistani baby kidnapped and taken to Dubai’ claim. It is still circulating with the same narrative.

While it cannot be conclusively established if the video was created in jest or it depicts an actual incident, there is little doubt that the ‘Pakistan-Dubai’ claim is flimsy. Media outlets that ran stories on the video, based their reports on old and unverified footage which was tweeted by HGS Dhaliwal, the Executive Director of Security at the Airport Authority of India.

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