Twitter campaign falsely claims ASWJ rally was attacked by Shi’ite terrorists

Banned outfit claims sunnis are at risk of genocide


Claim: Shi’ite rallyists attacked the peaceful Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (ASWJ) rally in Khairpur on 11th Muharram. #StopSunniGenocide, #شیعہ_دہشتگردی_نامنظور [Shia terrorism is unacceptable] and #Shi’iteAttackonASWJRally were trending on twitter following the event. ASWJ media and supporters call Shia folk enemies of Islam and the state. ASWJ’s media team is using the clash to justify the implementation of blasphemy laws.

Fact: Conflict erupted at the Wah Hussain Wah march organized by the previously-banned outfit ASWJ. While there is missing evidence of how violence erupted, evidence emerged of the clash between the ASWJ and Shia folk. However, Soch Fact Check concluded that there is no Sunni genocide taking place. 

On 10 August 2022, an organized campaign by the ASWJ used the following hashtag and terms,  #شیعہ_دہشتگردی_نامنظور [Shia terrorism is unacceptable], Stop Sunni Genocide and Shi’ite Attack on ASWJ Rally on Twitter. 

Images shared on Twitter by the ASWJ social media team

Fact or Fiction?

Twitter user and Shia activist, Asad Gokal, on the other hand, reported, “Terrorists of SSP/ASWJ have attacked a sabeel camp, pelted stones & fired shots at Shias. Instead of stopping [the] illegal rally & arresting armed ASWJ goons, Sindh Police & Rangers further shot tear gas at resident Shias to confine them in their streets as [the] rally passed by.” The tweet is accompanied by a video with three clips. 

Soch Fact Check reached out to Gokal, who explained that the first clip shows teared-up posters of the sabeel, a camp set up by Shias serving juice and water. The second clip shows the ongoing rally with the speaker surrounded by armed guards, and the third clip shows resident Shias confined in a lane guarded by the police while the rally passes down the main road. 

Soch Fact Check also received videos showing tear gas being fired by the police and people running away. Another video shows stones being pelted by ASWJ on a Shia crowd, with the crowd retaliating with the stones thrown their way. We contacted the Khairpur Senior Superintendent of the Police office for a comment; the representative denied all claims that any conflict had emerged in Khairpur during Muharram. They stated that the Wah Hussain Wah March took place, like it does every year but there was no conflict with any Shia groups. When asked about the countering evidence on social media, the representative stated “all kinds of things go viral on social media”. 

Soch Fact Check reached out to a local present at the site of the incident. The local, who wished to remain anonymous due to security concerns, stated that he arrived at the site when the tear gas was being fired upon the people. He informed us that according to the people present beforehand, the confrontation began when an ASWJ member hurled a slur at two Shia men, calling them “Kaara”, which is Sindhi for “black”. 

ASWJ released a series of tweets with the above mentioned hashtags following the incident. The tweets contained general statements, unrelated to the event itself, labeling Shias as “enemies of the Sahaba rz”. They go on to advocate for the implementation of blasphemy laws.

Examples of such tweets include: 

  • Enemies of the Sahaba rz are misguided in their ignorant ways, we condemn their imprecations nd barrage of insults against the Sahaba Rz and we demand to Implement Blasphemy Laws
  • Ahl Hadith, Barelvi & Deobandi all are one against those who insult & disparage the Sahaba rz and we also demand to Implement Blasphemy Laws

The tweets have also been posted as images along with a picture of an injured ASWJ rallyist. The posters contain the Twitter logo and the three trending terms used on twitter.

ASWJ poster showing the three trending terms, Twitter logo and injured rallyist

It is relevant to point out that there was no video or pictorial evidence posted of an attack by Shias on the ASWJ rally by the media team. However, one video shows the aforementioned injured rallyist being greeted by a group of people, and another depicts the aftermath of conflict at a restaurant with broken chairs. Furthermore, no loss of lives was reported by either side, rendering the claims of a “Sunni genocide” baseless. 

The tweets are posted by the Ahl-e-Sunnat Media Team Baldia Town account. The account bio contains @TeamAhleSunnat,which has been suspended on Twitter for violating Twitter rules. 

This is not the first time ASWJ has come under the spotlight for an anti-Shia campaign.
The party was listed as a terrorist organization in 2012. It has repeatedly held rallies chanting anti-shia slogans, labellng Shias “kaafirs” (disbelievers of Islam). In 2020, ASWJ leader Masoodur Rehman Usmani was booked under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Pakistan Penal Code. It was stated that he had fanned sectarianism and incited violence using anti-shia remarks and chants. 

Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat originates from the banned terrorist organization, Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP). SSP was banned in 2002, after which it emerged as Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan (MIP) in 2003. MIP was subsequently banned and emerged as ASWJ in 2008. 


Soch Fact Check was unable to find the claims on Facebook and Instagram. The campaign focused mainly on Twitter. The posters circulated online also included a Twitter logo. Soch Fact Check conducted a search on TweetBinder to determine the virality of the campaign. We searched the following phrases from 9 August to 16 August:

  • شیعہ_دہشتگردی_نامنظور#
  • Stop Sunni Genocide
  • Shi’ite Attack on ASWJ Rally

The first hashtag was used in 39,680 tweets, the second phrase was used in 29,970 tweets and the third phrase appeared in 31,360 tweets. 

Conclusion: ASWJ’s claims about a ‘Sunni genocide’ taking place are false. No lives were lost in the ASWJ Khairpur rally. The claims are being used as a justification to push for the implementation of blasphemy laws against religious minorities. 

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