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Photo showing helicopters flying over GHQ is from 2009

The photo has been wrongly linked to recent protests following Imran Khan’s arrest


Claim: A photo shows two helicopters flying over the General Headquarters (GHQ), headquarters of the Pakistan Army, in Rawalpindi following former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest.

Fact: The photo is from 2009, after an attack by militants on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Rangers arrested Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan from the Islamabad High Court’s premises on 9 May 2023 in the Al-Qadir Trust case while acting on the arrest warrants issued by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). 

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared the arrest legal.

Khan’s arrest has sparked nationwide protests.

On 10 May 2023, the former prime minister appeared before a judge at the police guesthouse, which is serving as a courtroom, on corruption charges which he denies. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 9 May 2023, Twitter user Pramod Kumar Singh (@SinghPramod2784) tweeted a photo claiming that it shows helicopters flying over GHQ in Rawalpindi following the arrest of Imran Khan. 

Pakistan Army GHQ Rawalpindi. Choppers are flying after a mob attacked it following arrest of ex PM #imran_Khan,” his tweet reads.

Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search on the image. The result showed that a similar photo was featured in a report by The Guardian published on 23 May 2011. “Helicopters fly over the entrance to Pakistan’s army headquarters after an attack by militants in Rawalpindi in 2009. Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters,” the photo is captioned. 

A keyword search on Google turned up other news reports by Reuters. The news agency had reported on 10 October 2009 that militants wearing army uniforms attacked Pakistan’s army headquarters in Rawalpindi. The gun battle at the main gate of the headquarters killed six soldiers. 

Pakistani commandos rescued 39 people taken hostage by militants from a security agency office building near the headquarters on 11 October 2009. 

While protests have been reported in several cities after Khan’s arrest and videos of protestors vandalising the entrance gate of the army headquarters in Rawalpindi are being widely shared on social media, this particular viral photo is not recent.


The tweet by user @SinghPramod2784, who has a verified account with 25,800 followers, has been viewed by 1,895 people as of writing time. 

Conclusion: The viral photo showing Pakistan Army helicopters flying over GHQ’s entrance is old. In fact, it is from October 2009 when militants attacked the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Correction: Soch Fact Check originally rated this claim as misleading. The rating was changed to false shortly after publishing.

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