PIMS medical director Dr Khalid Masud did not say Arshad Sharif was tortured

Contrary to the Independent Urdu report, PIMS director has refused to confirm whether the 12 marks on Arshad Sharif's body are signs of torture

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Claim: Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) medical director Dr Khalid Masud confirmed 12 torture marks on journalist Arshad Sharif’s body.

Fact: Dr Khalid Masud told Soch Fact Check that he never confirmed whether the marks on Arshad Sharif’s body are a sign of torture. 

Pakistani investigative journalist Arshad Sharif was murdered in Kenya, four 4-hours from the city of Nairobi, on 23 October 2022. In the weeks after his death, several claims regarding the mysterious nature of his death and the events leading up to it came up on social media.

On 10 November 2022, journalist Kamran Shahid shared photographs which allegedly showed torture on Arshad Sharif’s body which were leaked from PIMS hospital in Islamabad. The case is currently being investigated by Kenyan and Pakistani authorities. 

On 10 November 2022, Geo News Urdu published an article with the headline “پوسٹ مارٹم میں ارشد شریف کے جسم پر تشددکے 12 نشانات ملے: ڈائریکٹر پمز” [Translation: Post mortem report concludes that 12 torture marks were found on Arshad Sharif’s body: Director PIMS]. The article claims that Dr Khalid Masud confirmed that Arshad Sharif’s postmortem report concludes that he was tortured.

 

On 11 November 2022, Independent Urdu, a sister organization of Arab News and Urdu News, published an article with the headline “ارشد شریف پر قتل سے قبل تشدد کی تصدیق” [Translation: Torture before Arshad Sharif’s death has been confirmed]. The article claims that PIMS medical director Dr Khalid Masud stated that Arshad Sharif’s body had 12 marks of torture, according to his postmortem report.

A few days after this article was published, a video of Dr Masud began circulating on WhatsApp. In the video, Dr Masud says that since this is a sensitive case still under investigation, he cannot explicitly state whether Arshad Sharif was tortured or not. He said, “One postmortem has already been conducted in Kenya before the body came to us, and the report was not shared with us, so we can not say for sure if the nails were taken out during torture or if they took them out for their forensics.” He also added that only a medico-legal inspection could confirm whether the marks on Arshad Sharif’s body will be considered torture marks.

WhatsApp forward screenshot – video of Dr Khalid Masud, which has been forwarded many times. Link to the video: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/13Qs4tvqTmHkS54H7nXl91xRqJZEIoF-Z

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check spoke to Dr Khalid Masud on 16 November 2022; he clarified over a phone call that his statements are being taken out of context to imply that he has confirmed the presence of 12 torture marks on Arshad Sharif’s body. He added that he does not have any medico-legal expertise and cannot accurately determine whether Arshad Sharif was tortured or if marks and bruises on his body were caused during the previous postmortem, which took place in Kenya. He also further added that this matter is currently under investigation and that it is frustrating for him that his statement is being taken out of context. 

Dr Masud also confirmed that postmortem reports are sent to those who are eligible to file a request for the same, which in this case would be Arshad Sharif’s family and lawyers. When the forensic report about the injury marks is completed, it will be shared with Sharif’s family first.   

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period since 11 November 2022 to 17 November 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “PIMS” “torture” “Arshad Sharif”
  •   پمز ارشد شریف  تشدد

On Facebook, several relevant posts were found, reaching over 12,000 interactions. Some of these posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Several tweets containing the claim can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

The claim was also posted on Instagram here

Conclusion: Dr Khalid Masud, the medical director of PIMS, did not confirm 12 torture marks on journalist Arshad Sharif’s body. 

 

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