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President of Pakistan did not pardon Imran Khan’s sentence

City42 and 24News published misleading headlines


Claim: The President of Pakistan pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence.

Fact:  The President of Pakistan has not pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence. An excerpt from Babar Awan’s press conference was shared on X with a false caption claiming that President Arif Alvi has pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence.

On 22 January 2024, City42 and 24 News HD  shared a YouTube video on X, originally published by City 21 News, with the caption, “President of Pakistan pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence? media talk Imran Khan lawyer Babar Awan.”

The title of the YouTube video is identical to the caption of the tweets. The video’s description includes an introduction to City 21 News and links to the news outlet’s website and social media platforms. 

Zaheer-ud-Din Babar Awan, the man addressing the media in the viral video, is a former member of the Senate of Pakistan who represented the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at the time. He was also the federal law minister during the tenure of PPP’s Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, and is now a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Fact or Fiction?

The tweets by City42 and 24 News HD only contain an 8-minute 18-second excerpt from a longer public address by Babar Awan to the media. The complete address and the Q&A session with the press can be viewed here. Upon watching the entire video shared in the tweets in question, we found that  Awan mentions the President of Pakistan for the first time at the time stamp 04:35 as he says:

“[Translation]I have already mentioned this to the Election Commission and now I want to say this to the President, that he knows as well as the rest of the country, that the sentence handed out to Imran Khan is unjust and unfair. An immensely influenced presiding officer of the kangaroo court has handed out this sentence. Which is why according to Article 51 of the constitution, the President can suspend the sentence according to the constitution. For a fair, free and transparent general election and to give the public some real hope – this will only happen when there is a fair and free election. And without Imran Khan that is simply not a possibility.” 

Before this statement and afterwards, Awan asserts that the upcoming elections have already been heavily rigged against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Imran Khan. 

He also claims that the current government has essentially “leased out” the entire country to the IMF. He praised Imran Khan’s tenure as prime minister. He also cautions the public to value and respect the power of the vote and that it will prove to be instrumental in their self-determination and a rigged election will destroy this perspective. He does not mention the president again at any point before or after the direct quote mentioned above.

The title of the video published by City 21 News, and the identical caption of the tweets by City42 and 24 News HD where they shared the same video, is false. The tweets as well as the Youtube video’s title falsely claim that the president of Pakistan has pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence, while implying that the video clip reports evidence of this development.


The posts on X had more than 1000 views.

On Facebook the claim was shared here, here, here, here, here, and here, with most titles and captions in Urdu. The posts received more than 101,000 views on Facebook. 

Conclusion: A video of Babar Awan’s public address to the media was shared with a false claim that the President of Pakistan has pardoned Imran Khan’s sentence.

Background image in cover photo: Adobe Stock 

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