Digitally-manipulated picture of Imran Khan with beard emerges amid reports of poor jail facilities

Original photograph was snapped on 24 July when Imran Khan appeared at a court


Claim: A picture shows Imran Khan sporting a beard ahead of a court appearance.

Fact: The image is digitally manipulated; Khan originally appeared clean-shaved in the picture in question.

On 22 August 2023, the Instagram account @iloveimrankhan._ posted (archive) an image showing Imran Khan — the former prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — sporting a grey beard and grey hair, with a pair of black sunglasses, and wearing a black kurta shalwar as he stepped out of a vehicle ahead of a court hearing.

The caption alongside the image is as follows:

“‏اے اللہ میرے لیڈر عمران خان کی حفاظت فرما اور اسے آج باعزت بری کر اور بے شک تو انصاف کرنے والا ہے امین ثم امین
[O Allah, protect my leader Imran Khan and acquit him with honour today and, surely, You are the One who will do justice, Amen.]”

The accompanying hashtags, mostly in Urdu, show support for Khan, with references to conspiracies, cricket, and slavery.

The image surfaced amid reports that Imran Khan “is not allowed to use his shaving kit in the Attock Jail”, per a tweet (archive) by journalist Hamid Mir. The former PM is currently serving (archive) a three-year sentence in the Toshakhana case, wherein he allegedly sold (archive) state gifts during his 2018-2022 tenure.

Khan “refuses to use the shaving kit provided by the prison administration, so he has grown a beard”, Mir wrote in his post on X (formerly Twitter), which included a snippet of his programme in which the PTI chief’s lawyer, Barrister Gohar Khan, was invited.

Reports pertaining to Khan growing out his beard, as well as his shaving kit conundrum, have appeared in multiple publications, including Aaj News, Geo News English, Geo News Urdu, Pak Observer, Minute Mirror, and Neo Network.

Earlier, in a short order issued 5 August 2023, quoted by The Express Tribune (archive), Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Humayun Dilawar wrote that Khan was “found guilty of corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer willfully and intentionally”, provided “false and inaccurate” information about the gifts he obtained from Toshakhana, and that “his dishonesty has been established beyond doubt”.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched the image and, through Google Lens, found a 25 July post (archive) by the Instagram account @insaf_lawyers_forum that includes two photos of Khan, one of which is the photo we’re investigating.

Given that Khan is seen stepping out of a vehicle to appear at the court and the photo was included in a 25 July post on Instagram, we searched Getty Images for pictures of the former PM and narrowed the dates to the 22-26 July 2023 period.

We successfully found the photograph in which Khan is clean shaven on Getty Images, which is available here. Taken on 24 July 2023 and credited to Aamir Qureshi, the picture caption states, “Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan (C) arrives to appear in the Supreme Court in Islamabad.”

Therefore, we conclude that the image showing a bearded Imran Khan is digitally manipulated.


The post by @iloveimrankhan._ has received over 4,500 likes and 200 comments so far.

The image also appeared on Facebook here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The image is digitally manipulated; Khan originally appeared clean-shaved in the picture in question.

Background image in cover photo: @PTIOfficial

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