Muzaffargarh Police did not force a couple to get married on Valentine’s Day

Social media posts shared false information about SHO Iftikhar Malkani’s recent police raid

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Claim:  Posts circulating on Facebook claim that the station house officer (SHO) of the Civil Lines police station Muzaffargarh Mr Iftikhar Malkani arrested a couple on Valentine’s Day and forced them to get married at the police station. The posts are accompanied by an image allegedly depicting Malkani with the arrested couple, and others.

Fact: The claim circulating on social media is false as no such incident took place. While the image being shared alongside the posts in question does depict a raid recently carried out at a house in Muzaffargarh, officers did not force a couple to get married at a police station.

On 15 February 2022, Soch Fact Check received a link to a Facebook post alleging that a ‘unique wedding’ took place at the Civil Lines police station Muzaffargarh on Valentine’s Day. The image was accompanied by a caption stating that SHO Civil Lines Iftikhar Malkani arrested a couple on Valentine’s Day and forced them to have a nikah (Muslim marriage) at the police station. In light of this alleged incident, the Facebook post in question noted that if two individuals are seen to be dating, the police will take ‘necessary’ action.

Fact or Fiction?

To investigate the claim, Soch Fact Check reached out to the Muzaffargarh police station. Mr Malkani confirmed that the news is “fake”, stating that the police do not have the authority to force people to get married. However, according to Mr Malkani, the police department did a raid on a brothel in Muzaffargarh a few days prior to Valentine’s Day. During the raid, the police arrested a couple. Mr Malkani confirmed that an FIR was registered against the couple and others who were involved. An image of the FIR can be seen below.

Mr Malkani further noted that while the image mentioned above of him conducting a raid at the house was originally shared by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) with accurate information. It was also posted on a Facebook page with correct news but later began to proliferate on social media with the false claim that the police forced the couple in question to get married. A screenshot of the true information can be seen below:

Virality

Soch Fact Check investigated the virality of the story and found that the false claim was first posted here in a public Facebook group on 14 February 2022. Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the seven-day period from 10 – 16 February. The results indicated that there were 327 relevant posts on Facebook between 14 – 16 February, that cumulatively received 28,000 interactions. The false news was still trending on Facebook at the time of reporting.

On Twitter, the same image with the same caption was tweeted here, here, here, here , here and here between 14 – 16 February 2022.

On 16 February 2022, a social media site Mangobaaz also posted the same news story on their Instagram account with the headline “Unwed couple celebrating Valentine’s Day, forcefully married at the Police Station”. The post gathered 7,700 likes and 200+ comments within a few hours.

Conclusion: The Muzaffargarh police department did not force a couple to get married at a police station on Valentine’s Day. The image being shared alongside this claim is of a police raid conducted a few days prior to Valentine’s Day, where a couple was arrested. However, as has been noted, the couple was not forced to get married.

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