Biden’s threatening letter to Imran Khan is doctored

Letter surfaced after Imran Khan was ousted from the PM Office through a no-confidence vote

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Claim: US President Joe Biden threatened former prime minister Imran Khan with dire consequences and removal from the Prime Minister’s Office “if you don’t refrain from your acts” in a letter with the seal of the Executive Office of the President (EOP) of the United States.

Fact: The letter is doctored; the EOP issued no such correspondence, nor is it available on its website.

Earlier this year, a letter allegedly from US President Biden to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan surfaced on social media. It includes threats in response to Khan’s “recent visit to the Kremlin”, “working in liaison with the Recep Tayyab Erdogan to accept Turkey as a seat of Khilafat”, and plan to appoint himself as “Grand Vizir e Azam of Sultanate (Prime Minister during Ottoman Empire)”.

In the alleged letter, Biden terms Khan’s actions a “clear violation of the Treaty of Lausanne signed by the Turkey in 1923” and warns the PTI chief of “removal of your selected govt” if he does not “refrain from your acts” and “keep a distance from Kremlin”.

The text of the letter is reproduced below:

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

Date: February 28, 2022
Mr. Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi
Prime Minister of Pakistan
PM House Secretariat, Islamabad-04403

Dear Imran,

Your recent visit to the Kremlin at the time of its invasion of a sovereign neighboring country deeply troubled me. As a global torch bearer of independence, sovereignty and liberty, I remind you that America remained affirm for the protection of these values. Things should not have been escalated to this level that I am spending a great deal of time by writing this letter to you. Despite the fact that I don’t even bother to call you even on WhatsApp.

Nonetheless, your relentless push to declare March 15th as an International Day against Islamophobia depicts your intention to revive closed chapter of “Khilafat”. My credible sources claimed that you are working in liaison with the Recep Tayyab Erdogan to accept Turkey as a seat of Khilafat while you acting as Grand Vizir e Azam of Sultanate (Prime Minister during Ottoman Empire). I deem this act of yours as a clear violation of the Treaty of Lausanne signed by the Turkey in 1923. Hereby, I am warning you if you don’t refrain from your acts, following chain of events might take place, resulting into removal of your selected govt. Starting from opposition submission of No Confidence Motion in first week of March, followed by the departing of Jahangir Khan Tarin group from PTI, PML Q joining hands with the PPPP to demand Punjab CM chair, Shahzain Bugti resigning in the last week of March to further dent your numbers in the parliament. Last but not the least, your following ministers would not be seen anywhere in vouching support for you as they will be begging for our sponsored PDM tickets. These leaders include, Shafqat Mehmood, Umer Ayub, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Choudary Ghulam, Aleem Khan, & many others.

Thereby, I again warn you to keep a distance from Kremlin and don’t even try to establish Khilafat.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check analysed the letter and its contents and found it to be fake.

Firstly, the EOP’s primary seal does not have any text under the bald eagle. The seal included in the letter is of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which is a part of the EOP.

(Clockwise, starting with the seal with red border) EOP seal on the doctored letter; sharpened version of the EOP seal on the doctored letter; version of the EOP seal available on Wikipedia; and the EOP seal available on the EOP website. (Left) Letter claimed to be from US President Joe Biden to Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan.

The second error is that the date is centre-aligned, not left-aligned.

Moreover, the letter is addressed to Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi instead of Imran Khan and the address is the PM House Secretariat instead of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The language is casual, undiplomatic, and has glaring grammatical errors. These include:

  • Mention of Kremlin instead of Russia or the Russian Federation
  • Mention of America instead of the United States
  • Writing the date as March 15th instead of March 15
  • Grammatical errors such as “remained”, “affirm”, “have been escalated”, and “the Recep Tayyab Erdogan”, errors in punctuation marks such as, “These leaders include, Shafqat Mehmood, Umer Ayub, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Choudary Ghulam, Aleem Khan, & many others.”

Upon closer inspection, Biden’s signature also appears to have been doctored or transformed in the sense that it has been stretched sideways and compressed vertically.

The font size of the word “sincerely” above Biden’s purported signature also differs from the rest of the text in the letter.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found the false letter here, here, here, and here on Facebook. The doctored content also appeared on Twitter here, here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The letter is doctored; the EOP issued no such correspondence, nor is it available on its website.


Background image in cover photo: Gayatri Malhotra

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