Video does not show Imran Khan speaking from behind bars
An old video of Khan doctored to give the impression that he has released a message from jail
Claim: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder and former prime minister, Imran Khan has released a video message from jail after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Fact: The video has been doctored to make it look like Khan is speaking from behind the bars. The original clip is actually of a speech that the politician delivered on 30 July 2023.
In light of the General Elections 2024, Imran Khan’s PTI faces obstacles with multiple key leaders and supporters behind bars, defections, and the loss of its ‘cricket bat’ symbol, which has raised concerns about fair campaigning and a level playing field.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-politician, won the 2018 election but is not on the ballot in the elections due to imprisonment, which is decried as a politically motivated conspiracy by Khan and his supporters.
Just a week before the election, Khan was given three additional sentences; fourteen years in the cipher case, ten years in the Toshakhana case and seven years in a case about his marriage being ruled un-Islamic.
Khan’s ouster and arrest
On 10 April 2022, Khan was voted out of office through a no-confidence vote. On 9 May 2023, he was arrested on the orders of the National Accountability Bureau in the Al-Qadir Trust case. On 12 May 2023, he was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court and returned to his residence in Lahore under police protection. On 5 August 2023, Khan was arrested from his Lahore residence in the Toshakhana case after a court conviction.
Fact or Fiction?
On 31 January 2024, TikTok user Syed (51272syed) posted a video (archive) claiming that PTI’s founder, Imran Khan has released a message from jail for his supporters. As per the text superimposed on the video, “Check the victory and satisfaction and trust in Allah Almighty in the eyes of Imran Khan.”
In the one-minute clip, Khan can be heard saying in Urdu, which has been translated into English and reproduced below:
“I want to say something to my nation. What have we learnt from Hazrat Imam Hussain’s martyrdom? La ilaha illallah [there’s no God but Allah]. First thing we learned is La ilaha illallah [there’s no God but Allah] – whoever God gives belief to and what Allama Iqbal refers to as Ishq [love]. I have tweeted Allama Iqbal’s quote in Farsi, shared it on my Instagram, and other forums. It’s in Farsi, but there is a translation in English and Urdu as well. So, how does Allama Iqbal perceive his martyrdom? He has beautifully explained that the meaning of La Ilaha Illallah is freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from one’s self, and that comes from loving Allah.”
Soch Fact Check found the claim to be misleading. We searched for the key phrase “دیکھیں ہم نے حظرت امام حسین کی سیاست سے کیا سیکھا ہے عمران خان” from the viral video. This led us to a Facebook video from 30 July 2023 titled, “Chairman PTI Imran Khan’s Important Address to Nation”.
Khan’s speech in the viral clip is identical to the one that can be heard in the aforementioned Facebook video between the 16:45 and 17:47 mark. Upon a closer look, it is also evident that the politician is wearing the same clothes, and is seated against the same blue background in both clips..
Most importantly, tight security measures are in place at the Adiala Jail, where strict regulations prevent people from photographing Khan or the court proceedings. Hence, Khan’s photos or videos have not surfaced on social media since his arrest in August 2023, following his conviction in the Toshakhana case. However, a recent photo of him circulating on social media, which was taken within the confines of the prison, is an exception.
Conclusion: Contrary to the viral claim, Imran Khan has not released a video message from jail. An old video of him was manipulated to give the false impression that Khan was speaking from behind bars. The footage is actually of a speech delivered by the politician on 30 July 2023.
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