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Cartoon depicting Imran Khan polishing Donald Lu’s shoes is doctored

Unedited image is sourced a 1902 children’s magazine called ‘Chatterbox’


Claim: Social media posts claim that an international magazine published a cartoon showing Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan polishing the shoes of US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.

Fact: The cartoon is actually a stock image sourced from a 1902 children’s magazine called Chatterbox. Imran Khan and Donald Lu’s faces have been doctored onto the original cartoon.

On 18 August 2022, Facebook page ‘اعوام سيالکوٹ’ posted a picture showing a man carrying an umbrella, wearing a suit and bowler hat, and getting his shoes polished by an individual who appears to be former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.

The image also includes the following text in Urdu:

“ڈونلڈ لو صاحب مائی باپ معاف کر دیں آئندہ نہیں کروں گا [Mr. Donald Lu, forgive me my father, I will not do it again.]”

“انٹرنیشنل میگزین میں شائع ہونے والا یہ کارٹون بہت ساری دنیا کی توجہ کا باعث بنا رہا جس میں عمران خان کو امریکی انڈر سیکرٹری ڈونلڈ لوکے بوٹ پالش کرتے ہوئے دکھایا گیا ہے ۔۔۔۔۔جو شخص دوسروں کو چیری بلاسم کے طعنے دیتا رہا آج اس کا اپنا انجام دیکھ لیجیے [This cartoon, published in an international magazine, attracted the attention of many people around the world. It shows Imran Khan polishing the boots of US Under Secretary Donald Lu. Look at the fate of the person who used to taunt others with [the nickname] Cherry Blossom today.]”

Donald Lu is the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. He made headlines after former PM Khan alleged that a letter by the diplomat proved claims of the United States’ intervention in Pakistan’s affairs that led to his ouster in April 2022. The US Department of State, as well as the Pakistan Army, have denied the claims.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used reverse image search tools to ascertain the source of the viral cartoon. We found links to two pictures available on British stock photography agency Alamy, here and here, of which one has a white background and the other shows another man in the background.

Digging further, we found that the cartoon was sourced from a children’s magazine published in 1902 called Chatterbox. The picture is now in the public domain, meaning its copyright has expired or been waived; we found its digital copy on the Internet Archive Books collection — a non-profit online library with free access to books, movies, and music.

The cartoon in question is available on page 316 of the Victorian magazine.

Moreover, Donald Lu, the American diplomat, has never held the post of United States Under Secretary of State. The Urdu text, therefore, is misleading.


Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 24 July 2022 to 23 August using the search term, “کارٹون عمران خان ڈونلڈ لو بوٹ پالش.”

The search turned up close to 50 posts with more than 3,600 interactions on Facebook.

We also found that the cartoon has been posted here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. The main post we investigated, available here, has been shared more than 200 times.

Interestingly, this is not the first time the cartoon has surfaced on social media. When it made the rounds earlier, the image actually had the face of Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa superimposed on it instead of Khan’s. On Twitter, it can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: An international magazine did not post a cartoon depicting Imran Khan polishing the shoes of Donald Lu; the cartoon is actually a stock image sourced from a 1902 children’s magazine called Chatterbox.

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muhammad azam satti
muhammad azam satti
1 year ago

جو لیٹر عمران خان نے دکھایا وہ جھوٹ تھا

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