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Candidate shot dead in Bajaur was not contesting on PTI ticket

Rehan Zeb Khan was contesting independently after PTI refused to give him a ticket

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Claim: PTI’s candidate from NA-8, Rehan Zeb Khan, was shot dead in Bajaur.

Fact: The claim is misleading because Rehan Zeb Khan was a member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the Bajaur district, while also contesting for the elections independently after PTI did not nominate him as their official candidate for general elections.

On 31 January 2024, media outlet Express Tribune posted an image (archive) on Facebook with the caption, “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate from NA-8 Bajaur Rehan Zeb Khan was shot dead on Wednesday”.

Rehan Zeb Khan, who was campaigning for election in the Sadiqabad Phatak Bazar area of Bajaur, was shot by unidentified gunmen on 31 January. According to CNN, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident happened a day after four people died while six were injured during an attack on a PTI’s election rally in Sibi, Balochistan.

Elections 2024

Ahead of the general elections on 8 February 2024, the political landscape is characterised by distinct circumstances for major political parties as violent attacks are increasing across the country on election campaigns, especially in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Soch Fact Check has observed an influx of false and misleading claims that may impact public opinion and voter behaviour.

Fact or Fiction?

Through an initial investigation, Soch Fact Check found that even though Rehan Zeb Khan was a member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Bajaur, he was contesting elections independently from the constituencies NA-8 and PK-22 for the national and provincial assemblies, respectively.

On 12 January 2024, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), Rehan Zeb Khan declared that he was not given a ticket by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from Bajaur. His tweet also mentioned that he was still contesting elections from NA-8 and PK-22.

Soch Fact Check checked the list of PTI candidates for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly for the upcoming general elections. Neither of the lists of candidates for the national (left) and KP provincial assembly (right) includes Rehan Zeb Khan’s name.

Names of PTI’s official candidates. The list shows the KP provincial assembly (right) and national assembly (left)

Furthermore, Soch Fact Check sent a message with the constituency number ‘NA-8’ to the official Facebook page of Imran Khan – (a chatbot method introduced by PTI to get updates on the party’s nominated candidates) and found that PTI’s candidate from the constituency NA-8  is ‘Gul Zafar Khan’.

Screenshot of PTI chatbot showing ‘Gul Zafar Khan’ as the official candidate

Soch Fact Check also found the WhatsApp channel of PTI in which updates regarding Bajaur district constituencies NA-8 and PK 19, 20, 21 and 22 are shared. The updates showed that Rehan Zeb Khan was not PTI’s official designated candidate for the general elections.

In a tweet, PTI’s Peshawar president, Sher Ali Arbab, also confirmed that Rehan Zeb was not an officially designated candidate of PTI for general elections.

Virality

After the death of Rehan Zeb Khan, false news of him being PTI’s candidate from Bajaur for the upcoming elections was widely reported by media outlets, including Bol News, Pakistan Observer, Minute Mirror, as well as an Indian outlet, ABP Live.

However, others like Dunya News and Express Tribune later mentioned him as a PTI-affiliated candidate, which could be misleading for the readers.

It is also to be noticed that Geo News and Dawn correctly reported that he was a PTI member and independent candidate.

Conclusion: Rehan Zeb Khan, who was shot dead in Bajaur, did not contest for elections on PTI’s ticket. He was an independent candidate after PTI didn’t give him a ticket.

 

Background image in cover photo: Rehan Zeb account

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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