Claim: Imran Khan was seen sporting a beard on 30 January 2024, the day he was sentenced to 10 years for “leaking state secrets”.

Fact: A beard was edited onto Khan’s face in an image that was originally posted by PTI Central Legal Coordinator Mashal Yousafzai on 1 August 2023.

On 30 January 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user @Zaigham880 posted (archive) a picture of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief, Imran Khan, sporting a grey beard and sitting next to a man and a woman. The accompanying caption — which includes the hashtag “#عمران_خان_پر_ظلم_نامنظور” or “Injustice against Imran Khan unacceptable” — reads:

“خان کی تازہ تصویر کوئی ہے لائک اور کمنٹ کرنے والا لڑکی کیو ایسے گھور رہی
[The latest picture of Imran Khan, is there anyone who will like and comment [on this picture], why is that girl staring?]”

The picture was posted on X just a few hours after Khan was sentenced (archive) to 10 years in prison for “leaking state secrets”, a case in which he was accused of making public a “cypher,” or classified cable, sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the US last year, that he claims (archive) “was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and US government to topple his government in 2022 after he visited Moscow just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.

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

A day later, on 31 January 2024, he and his wife, Bushra Khan, popularly known as Bushra Bibi, were sentenced (archive) to 14 years each for “illegally selling state gifts” in a decision that came just days ahead of the 2024 general elections in Pakistan, slated for 8 February.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check used reverse image search tools to locate the original picture, which we found was posted in 2023.

PTI Central Legal Coordinator Mashal Yousafzai originally shared (archive) the image on 1 August 2023. The post, which features a clean-shaven Imran Khan, is accompanied by the caption:

“خون کے آخری قطرے تک کھڑے رہنگے خان صاحب! کیونکہ آپ ہماری آخری امید ہے۔
[Khan sahab will keep standing till the last drop of his blood! Because you are our last hope.]”

The man seen sitting with the former premier and Yousafzai is Barrister Khawaja Haris, a prominent lawyer fighting cases pertaining to the PTI.

Soch Fact Check, therefore, concludes that the image has been doctored.

This is not the first time a picture of a bearded Imran Khan has gone viral. Back in August 2023, we fact-checked a digitally manipulated picture of Imran Khan with a beard that had gone viral amid reports of unsatisfactory jail facilities.


Soch Fact Check found the same picture that went significantly viral on Facebook, gaining over 4,300 shares. It was also shared here, here, here, here, and here on the same platform.

We also found the image shared here and here, where it gained over 510,800 views and 16,300 views, respectively, as of writing time. The latter was posted by @ssgviews, a user who has shared false and misleading claims multiple times in the past.

It was also posted here, here, here, and here on X.

The picture also ended up on YouTube here and here.

Conclusion: The image was originally posted by PTI Central Legal Coordinator Mashal Yousafzai on 1 August 2023. The one going viral at present has been doctored.

Background image in cover photo: ImranKhanOfficial

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