Did a beggar enter a plane in Karachi?
Video from 2018 is unrelated to Karachi
Claim: A video shows a beggar who entered an aeroplane in Karachi.
Fact: A beggar did not enter an aeroplane in Karachi. The video in question shows a Qatar Airways flight from the Qatari capital Doha to Shiraz, Iran.
On 13 September 2023, Soch Fact Check received a WhatsApp message containing a video that shows a beggar who entered an aeroplane asking passengers for money.
The accompanying text — which has been typed in a manner similar to news tickers — from the WhatsApp ‘forward’ is reproduced as follows:
پاکستان میں اپنی نوعیت کا انوکھا واقع
کراچی ایک جہاز میں بھکاری گھس آیا
حیران کن صورتحال
فضائی میزبان سر پکڑ کر رہ گئے
بھکاری سندھی زبان بولتےسنا جا سکتا ہے
فضائی میزبان اور مسافروں سے جہاز کے اندر بھیک مانگتے دیکھا جا سکتا ہے.فوٹیج
بھکاری کو.سمجھانے کے لئے ائیر ہوسٹس کی منت سماجنت
غیر ملکی نجی ائیر لائن میں بھکاری گھسنے کا تاریخی واقع
نجی ائیر لائن کے جہاز تک پہنچنے میں کئی سیکورٹی چیک پوائنٹ کراس کئے
سیکورٹی کا مکمل.پول کھل کے سامنے آگیا.
فلائٹ ٹی جے 507 گذشتہ روز کراچی سے بنکاک روانہ ہوئی.ذرائع
کراچی جناح انٹرنیشنل ائیر پورٹ کے فضائی آپریشن کو.بھکاری چکمہ دے کر اندر داخل ہوا.ذرائع
بھکاری نے سیکورٹی اہلکاروں کو چکرا دیا.ذرائع
سول ایوی ایشن کی طرف سے معاملہ دبانے کی کوشش.ذرائع.”
Translated to English, it reads as follows:
A unique event of its kind in Pakistan;
A beggar entered a plane in Karachi;
Flight attendants left holding their heads in their hands;
Beggar can be heard speaking Sindhi language;
Beggar seen asking flight attendants and passengers for money: footage;
Flight attendants tried entreating the beggar to understand [and leave];
A historical incident of a beggar entering a foreign private airline;
[Beggar] crossed numerous security checkpoints of the private airline to board the plane;
The entire secret of security [system] has been exposed;
Flight TJ 507 departed from Karachi to Bangkok yesterday: sources;
Beggar dodged operations team of Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport to enter: sources;
Beggar confused security personnel: sources;
Civil Aviation Authority is trying to suppress the matter: sources.”
The video, which is one minute and 18 seconds long, has flooded WhatsApp groups and social media platforms.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check first looked for any details that could possibly identify where the video originated from or aboard which flight it was filmed.
At one point in the video, a seatback screen — formally called in-flight entertainment — is visible showing DOH and SYZ, which point to the origin of the flight as Doha (Doha International Airport) and its destination as Shiraz (Shiraz Shahid Dastghaib International Airport).
“Bizarre footage has emerged appearing to show a man holding up a commercial flight by persistently begging passengers for money. The middle-aged man held out a plastic pouch and pleaded for help on board a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Shiraz, ignoring repeated requests from staff to sit down – reports Daily Pakistan.”
At that time, “social media users speculated that the incident had taken place on a Bangkok-bound flight at Karachi airport”, The Express Tribune wrote.
Daily Pakistan reported the same stating, “Many Pakistani media outlets claimed that the incident took place on a flight bound to Colombo from Karachi.”
Lastly, the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) addressed (archive) the claim on X, writing, “The video of the beggar begging on a plane that is circulating on social media is not from Pakistan. According to the information provided, the video is more than five years old and was filmed on a Doha-Shiraz flight.”
Additionally, there is no TG507 flight operating from Karachi to Bangkok.
— PCAAOfficial (@official_pcaa) September 13, 2023
We also found this 19 June 2018 article by newsalert.com.pk (archive) that includes Bangkok in its dateline rather than Shiraz or Colombo, implying the news originated from that city. That could be the reason why Bangkok is mentioned in the following ticker, “Flight TJ 507 departed from Karachi to Bangkok yesterday: sources.”
There is no evidence that suggests the man seen in the video was speaking Sindhi; it appears mentioning what language he spoke in the text alongside the viral clip is likely an attempt to fuel an ethnic divide.
Soch Fact Check has, therefore, established that the incident took place on a Doha-Shiraz flight in 2018.
We also identified what appears to be the source of the video’s resurgence: on 7 September 2023, the Facebook page ‘News Report’ reshared (archive) the video it had originally posted on 4 August 2020 (archive).
Previously, AFP Fact Check — an outlet accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), of which Soch Fact Check is also a signatory — cited a former spokesman for the Pakistan International Airlines, Danyal Gilani, as saying (archive):
“Not true. This video is made onboard a Doha-Shiraz flight. The so-called beggar, who is an Iranian deportee, [is] speaking Farsi & the lady making the video is also speaking in Farsi. The old man was deported without any money so he was asking passengers in the plane to help him out.”
The publication added that upon a closer analysis, “the man in the video can be heard speaking Farsi.”
We also conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 15-day period from 1 September 2023 to 15 September using the search term “پاکستان میں اپنی نوعیت کا انوکھا واقع کراچی ایک جہاز میں بھکاری گھس آیا”. We found 2,145 interactions across 125 posts on Facebook.
The video became so widespread that Mohammad Sharif Shakib — a Peshawar-based man who claims to be an “editor and columnist” and writes columns for Daily AAJ — published a piece titled, “گداگری کے جدید طور طریقے [Modern methods of begging],” for the Chitral Times (archive) on 13 September 2023.
Conclusion: A beggar did not enter an aeroplane in Karachi. The video in question shows a Qatar Airways flight from the Qatari capital Doha to Shiraz, Iran.
Background image in cover photo: Wikimedia Commons/Waqas Usman
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