Journalist Imran Riaz Khan shared old, misleading image about Quetta CI office fire

The image from March falsely claimed all records at the office had been destroyed

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Claim: All records were destroyed in a fire at the Custom Intelligence Office in Quetta. 

Fact: There was a fire at the customs office in Quetta.  However, the incident took place 8 months ago and all records were not destroyed, according to the SSP Quetta’s office and news reports from the time. 

On 23 December 2022, Journalist Imran Riaz Khan shared an outdated and misleading image about a fire at the Customs Intelligence office in Quetta. The image was shared without any context and claimed that all records at the office had been destroyed. 

Fact or Fiction?

The image shared by Khan in his post shows a live YouTube broadcast of Bol News titled “Eid Ul Fitr moon sighting 2022 in Pakistan | Ruet Hilal Committee | Eid Chand | Bol Live”. This title suggest Khan’s image was outdated, as Eid Ul Fitr took place months ago.

The Bol News screenshot was likely taken  around 1 May 2022, when the Eid ul Fitr moon was sighted. 

To find the incident the image referred to, Soch Fact Check searched for any fire that took place at a Customs Intelligence office around that time and found that, on 1 May 2022, one person was injured in an explosion, which resulted in a fire, near Quetta’s Custom Intelligence Office.

On 2 May 2022, an article titled “Customs records burnt in Quetta office fire” was published by Pakistan Today. It claimed that, according to police, all items, including records and files, at the office had been reduced to ash as a result of the fire. This was the only article which attributed the claim to the police. Soch Fact Check spoke to the office of SSP Operations Quetta, who said the police never stated that all records were destroyed and that they had refuted the same claim back in May.

On 8 May 2022, Dawn News published an article titled “Customs office record remains safe in fire” that reported Quetta Police confirmed a fire did break out at the office, but most important records were saved due to being stored in safe warehouses.

Other articles discussed the destruction of some, but not all, documents. Express News reported an anonymous Customs officer told them that the fire destroyed thousands of vehicle records, but not all of the records present at the building. A report from Daily Quetta Voice stated that case records had also been destroyed. They reported the fire destroyed thousands of vehicle records and case files.

Therefore, Soch Fact Check found Khan’s post to be false as the Quetta police and other news organisations reporting on the incident asserted that, while the fire did damage the office and destroy records, not all records were lost.

Virality

Imran Riaz Khan’s tweet was viewed 412,700 times and received over 22,000 Twitter interactions.

Conclusion: Journalist Imran Riaz Khan shared an old and misleading image about a fire at the Quetta Custom Intelligence Office. The image, which was from March, was shared without any context and falsely claimed that all records at the office had been destroyed.

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