Claim: In a video statement, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the police personnel at Zaman Park were “unarmed”. 

Fact: Several video clips on social media show that police officers and rangers were holding  guns and firing rubber bullets at civilians. 

On 14 March 2023, Islamabad Police attempted to arrest Imran Khan from his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore, purportedly in compliance with a court order. This operation resulted in a violent encounter between PTI supporters and law enforcement agencies. The rangers and police used methods of coercion and violence, and PTI workers also responded with force. Several politicians and journalists claimed that this was an instance of extreme disobedience bordering on terrorism by the civilians who placed themselves as human shields between Khan’s residence and the police. Others claim that Khan and PTI were unfairly targeted.  

Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb held an emergency press conference on 14 March 2023, where she claimed the police were entirely unarmed. 

Several news publications, including but not limited to Global Village Space, Gulf News, Associated Press of Pakistan, Pakistan Today, The Nation, and Business Recorder, reported the information minister’s statement. 

Upon investigation, Soch Fact Check found Aurganzeb’s claim to be in direct contradiction  with several video clips shared by journalists and bystanders who were at Zaman Park during the incident. 

Fact or Fiction?

A clip shared by a Hum News journalist shows that the police were clad in riot gear while civilians were not. Another clip shared by PTI’s official Twitter account shows open firing by the rangers and police. The same clip was also shared by several social media users online. 

Moreover, in a video statement, Aitzaz Ahsan, a senior PPP politician and lawyer, asserted that civilian residents living around Zaman Park were also adversely affected by tear gas shelling conducted by the police. Ahsan’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), is a part of the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) coalition government which is currently in government. 

Several video clips shared by social media users also show cases of police brutality against unarmed civilians, using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets. Some of these clips are linked here, here, here, here and here.

Considering that the arrest warrant for Imran Khan is dated 18 March 2023 and the Zaman Park operation began four days earlier, it is clear that steps using disproportionate violence taken by the law enforcement agencies in Lahore on 14 March 2023 were avoidable but taken nevertheless. 


We found several news websites reporting Marriyum Aurangzeb’s statement. As the information minister, her statements are easily broadcast to the wider public through traditional and social media.

On Facebook, we found posts from a number of seemingly PMLN affiliated pages sharing Aurangzeb’s press conference here, here, here, here, here and here

Conclusion: Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb made a false statement about the police being unarmed at the Zaman Park operation. 

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