3-year-old report about PTI leader Iftikhar Ahmed Lund reshared on social media

Newspaper clipping of the news report reshared by renowned journalist

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Claim: The ruling PTI has asked Iftikhar Ahmed Lund, former central vice president of its Sindh chapter, to keep his “iron rod” ready for July 23 by-polls in the province’s Ghotki constituency.

Fact: The story, while true, is from 2019 when by-polls were scheduled to take place in Sindh’s Ghotki constituency.

On 17 January 2022, The News Editor Talat Aslam shared on Twitter the picture of an Express Tribune news clipping from an unspecified date. The picture shows a story with the headline, “PTI leadership asks Lund to keep his ‘iron rod’ ready for July 23.”

Aslam, who did not specify the publication date of the story in his post, captioned the photo, “No comment”.

The story was about the PTI leadership in Sindh telling Iftikhar Ahmed Lund, then the central vice president of the ruling party’s provincial chapter, “to keep his ‘iron rod’ ready for July 23”, the day of the by-polls for the NA-205 constituency of the National Assembly in Ghotki district.

Fact or fiction?

Soch Fact Check used the search term “pti lund iron rod site:tribune.com.pk” on Google to investigate. Google results led to an article on The Express Tribune’s website, which while identical in substance to the article in the image circulating online, had an altered headline: the words “PTI leadership” were replaced by “Haleem Adil Sheikh” — the current Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly — and “Lund” was replaced by “PTI local leader”.

Soch Fact Check found that the original story was published on The Express Tribune’s website on 22 July 2019. In a series of developments subsequent to the publication of that report, the Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) summoned Haleem Adil Sheikh, the then-president of the PTI’s provincial chapter, over his remarks regarding Iftikhar Ahmend Lund, while PTI removed Iftikhar Ahmed Lund as the focal person on human rights for Sindh.

The controversy surrounding Sheikh’s comments and the bawdy headline used for resulting story may have stemmed from allegations of sexual assault against the latter.

Virality

The story can be found in archives available on The Express Tribune’s website.

A screenshot from The Express Tribune archives showing the story in question

Facebook user Khawaja Rafique shared the image in multiple groups, including this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

Further, as is the case with numerous stories from Pakistan, this one also ended up being shared on Indian social media, including by accounts such as ‘C M Singh,’ ‘Salahuddin Ahmad,’ ‘Sourav Bose,’ ‘Syawish Rehman,’ and ‘Soutik Biswas,’ among others.

Only one Facebook user posted the image with the caption, “Throwback 2019.”

Conclusion: The news story shown in the clipping in Aslam’s tweet is true; however, it was carried by The Express Tribune in print and on its website in 2019, not recently.

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