Old videos of airport brawls portrayed as new incidents in Karachi
One of the two incidents of altercations did not even take place in Karachi
Claim: Two videos show Airport Security Force (ASF) officials misbehaving and manhandling passengers at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.
Fact: The viral video is actually two separate clips clubbed together; the first, depicting women being manhandled, is from a 2017 incident in Rawalpindi, not Karachi, whereas the second is from 2018.
On 15 January 2023, Facebook user ‘Shakir Baloch’ posted a video purportedly showing altercations between officials of the Airport Security Force (ASF) and passengers at the Karachi airport. The clip, which is three minutes and fifty-nine seconds long, is captioned:
“A classic Video of passenger hospitality by Airport staff in Karachi Airport”
The clip has so far been watched more than 5.5 million times and shared over 125,000 times, while the number of comments and reactions on the post are upwards of 8,700 and 30,000, respectively.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check used reverse image search tools to ascertain the source of the videos.
We found through Google Lens the screenshot of a report run by Express News on a website that appears to archive news stories and screenshots of bulletins. The screengrab carries the text, “کراچی ایئر پورٹ کے بین الا قوامی لاؤنج میں مسافر کی ہنگامہ آرائی,” which, when we searched Google, led us to this report by Express News Urdu published 28 July 2018.
The Express News Urdu report included a tweet, which led us to a YouTube video of the same incident. The description of that link includes text that also appears in an Express Tribune story, which is dated 28 July 2018.
The Express Tribune story — with the headline “FIA officials suspended for manhandling ‘drunk, aggressive passenger’ at Karachi airport” — states that five officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were suspended following an inquiry over a video showing “immigration staff manhandling a passenger at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi”.
The FIA had alleged the 32-year-old passenger was “not in his senses”, “was talking absurdly, abusing and being physically aggressive”, “physically misbehaved with passengers in the queue”, and when authorities tried to detain him, he “became desperate and went out of control”, according to the publication. However, the individual was later released.
As for the second video, our reverse image search turned up this story, titled “Govt swings into action after video of airport scuffle surfaces,” and dated 20 April 2017.
The report says the Interior Ministry suspended an official after a video showing “Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) staff manhandling two passengers at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport” surfaced on social media. The passengers, both Norwegian nationals, were “severely maltreated by an FIA lady constable”, it adds.
The woman official who was accused of brutality was suspended after the video evidence, before which the FIA had “accused the victims of being abusive towards immigration staff”, the publication had reported.
Both videos, therefore, are not recent.
Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the period starting 1 January 2023 and ending 2 February using the following search terms:
- “ASF vs Passenger Karachi Airport”
- “کراچی ایئرپورٹ عملے مسافروں مہمان نوازی کلاسک ویڈیو”
The first search term turned up 19 posts on Facebook with close to 1,300 interactions. The second one showed 190 interactions across 20 Facebook posts.
However, Facebook’s organic search turned up many more posts. An account named ‘FL360aero’ on Facebook and Twitter posted both videos on 17 January 2023 with different captions here, here, here, and here.
An account with the blue checkmark — obtained by subscribing to Twitter Blue and paying monthly fees — also posted the video, with the caption, “کراچی ایرپورٹ اتھارٹی کا ایک مسافر کے ساتھ وحشیانہ سلوک! مر گیں اس ملک کی عدالتیں بد عنوان ججوں کی سرپرستی میں [The brutal behavior of Karachi Airport authorities with a passenger! The courts of this country have died under the patronage of corrupt judges].”
The post was viewed more than 69,400 times and received 196 comments, 1,732 retweets, and 1,779 likes, as of writing time.
The most viral posts were by ‘People Magazine Pakistan’, ‘ary pick’, ‘Arslan Raees’, ‘Rajab Ali Baltistani’, ‘Sardar Jazib Sadha’, ‘Dr. Muhammad Akram Umrani’, and ‘Afroz Ahmed’, which were viewed over 54,000, 29,000, 8,400, 3,000, 2,600, 2,000, and 1,000 times, respectively.
The video surfaced here, here, here, and here in 2021 and here, here, here, here, and here in 2020. Interestingly, Gulf Today posted the video and a related news story titled, “Drunk passenger creates chaos at Karachi Airport” on 24 Feb 2020 — two years after the original incident was reported.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, who was in Opposition in 2020 when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was prime minister, also posted the video.
Conclusion: A combination of two separate incidents from 2017 and 2018 have been clubbed together to misleadingly portray passengers being manhandled by officials at the Karachi airport.
Background image in cover photo: @JinnahInternationalAirportKarachi