Imran Riaz Khan did not make a vlog after returning home in September 2023
Video from July 2022 was shared with a false claim after the missing journalist’s safe return
Claim: Social media post claims that it shows missing journalist Imran Riaz Khan’s first video statement for the public after he returned home on 25 September 2023.
Fact: The claim is false because the video is from July 2022, when Khan was arrested near Islamabad and was later released by the court.
تمام پاکستانیوں کے نام عمران ریاض کا پہلا ویڈیو پیغام
Translated [Imran Riaz’s first video message to all Pakistanis].
In the 2-minute long video, the journalist thanked the public, lawyers, and journalists who supported him when he was in custody.
Imran Riaz Khan, a former TV anchor and current YouTuber, was arrested in May 2023 at the Sialkot airport as he was en route to Oman. He was arrested after violent protests broke out across the country following PTI chairman Imran Khan’s arrest on 9 May 2023.
Khan’s family approached the Lahore High Court for help with finding him. On 20 September, the court issued a “last warning” to the police to turn in the missing journalist by 26 September, a Tuesday. On 25 September 2023, the Sialkot Police posted on X (formerly Twitter) that journalist Imran Riaz Khan was safely recovered and is with his family. Later, the news was confirmed by his brother to Al-Jazeera.
Fact or Fiction?
To investigate the claim, Soch Fact Check conducted a keyword and reverse image search on Google but could not find any credible evidence.
Soch Fact Check then went through the videos uploaded on Imran Riaz Khan’s official YouTube channel. A video uploaded on 11 July 2022 is the same as the one in the false claim. The scene from the false claim corresponds to the 1:13 mark of the vlog.
Dawn reported that journalist Imran Riaz was arrested near Islamabad on 5 July 2022 in connection with a treason case registered against him in Attock. He was later released on court order. The vlog was recorded after his release, in which he thanked his followers and the journalist community for supporting him. This video has since been shared with false claims, attributing it to his September 2023 release. However, the vlog is from a year ago, and he hasn’t posted any video statements after his recent release.
Furthermore, Khan’s lawyer Mian Ashfaq Ali uploaded a picture with the journalist when he returned home in September 2023, after he was missing for four months. In the picture, it can be seen that Imran Riaz has white hair and a beard and looks markedly different from the old video.
This is not the first time a false claim was made about Imran Riaz Khan. Soch Fact Check previously debunked a claim about him talking to the media after his return in September.
Conclusion: The claim that Imran Riaz released a video statement after his return home in September 2023, is false. The video being shared is from July 2022 when Khan was arrested in Islamabad and later released by the courts.
Background image in cover photo: Friday Times
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