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Video does not show Baloch students protesting for freedom from Pakistan

Viral video shows students protesting for women’s education rights in Afghanistan

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Claim: A social media video shows Baloch students chanting and demanding freedom from Pakistan.

Fact: The claim is false. The video is from the University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where students protested against the ban on women’s education in Afghanistan.

On 10 January 2023, a Twitter account posted a video with the caption, “We demand azadi, #FreeBalochistan from the occupation of the #PakArmy, and an end to barbarism. This is not #Kashmir, but the voice of the #Balochs & #Pashtun from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and we’ll not allow Pakistan to abuse our rights any longer.”

The 7-second video shows students holding play cards and chanting the Urdu word “azadi” [freedom] in a hall.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check investigated the claim after a few social media users commented that the video might be falsely reported.

A reverse image search on the video keyframe showed a tweet by KP journalist Muhammad Faheem who posted the video back on 26 December 2022. The Urdu caption of the tweet translated into English reads, “Freedom, freedom, freedom.

Protest of male and female students in the University of Peshawar against the ban on girls studying and working in Afghanistan.”

A further search with relevant keywords showed a Hum TV tweet from 27 December 2022 that contains a longer version of the video and shows that the protest organised by students was against the ban on women’s education in Afghanistan. The tweet also tagged @JamaimaAfridi.

Soch Fact Check found that the woman chanting in the video is a social activist and freelance journalist Jamaima Afridi who also posted the same video on 27 December 2022. She also posted other videos and images of her protesting in Peshawar against the ban on girls’ education and access to work in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s digital media outlet Zawia News also posted the video clip on their verified Twitter account with a Pashtu caption that translated into English reads, “The protest of the activists of Pakhtunkhwa in response to the Taliban’s closure of universities for Afghan girls.”

BBC Pashto also published a report on the demonstration organised by Jamaima Afridi and her fellow students in Peshawar. The video reports show the same hall from different angles, with students holding play cards on which “Let Afghan girls learn”, and other messages are written in Pashto.

The video with similar misleading claims was posted here, here and here on Twitter and received 3,435 views.

Conclusion: The video of students protesting and chanting “azadi” is not for freedom from Pakistan. The video is of a protest organised against the ban on girls’ education in Afghanistan and has nothing to do with separation from Pakistan.

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