Old video of Khawaja Asif ink attack shared as warning ahead of Nawaz’s return
Video has been rehashed multiple times over the past with misleading captions
Claim: Khawaja Asif had ink thrown on him as a warning ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s return on 21 October.
Fact: The video is more than five years old and does not show a recent attack on Khawaja Asif.
On 29 September 2023, the Facebook user ‘پھول نگر واچ’ posted a video (archive) showing Khawaja Muhammad Asif — a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) who has served as the minister of defence, as well as foreign affairs — having ink thrown on him by an unidentified individual as he was addressing an event.
The video, which has been viewed more than 622,000 times already, is accompanied by the following caption:
“ن لیگ کے رہنما خواجہ آصف پھر سیاہی کا شکار ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔
[N League leader Khawaja Asif once again subjected to ink attack]”
Soch Fact Check observed that the video was reposted by multiple Facebook accounts and pages that appear skewed towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PML-N’s rival party led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The clip surfaced ahead of the scheduled return of Nawaz Sharif — the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo who has held the prime minister’s post thrice to date — to Pakistan on 21 October (archive), apparently in a warning of a similar assault on him.
Another post carrying the video that we found has the following text superimposed on it:
“21 اکتوبر کو ميں چور جب آئے گا تب بھی ایسا استقبال ہوگا عوام میں منہ چھپانے کو جگہ نہیں ملے گی انشاءاللہ ان حرام خوروں کو۔ خواجہ آصف کا منہ کالا کر دیا سیاہی سے 🖐️
[On 21 October, when the thief returns, he will receive a similar welcome. InshAllah, there will be no place for these corrupt [politicians] to hide their faces in public. Khawaja Asif’s face blackened with ink 🖐️]”
The 🖐️ emoji in this context means ‘laanat’, which is Urdu for curse.
Sharif had left for the United Kingdom in 2019 on medical grounds (archive) after being handed a seven-year jail sentence over corruption charges (archive). He has denied the allegations and remained in London to date.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check input keyframes from the video in reverse image search tools to ascertain that the clip is from 2018 and has resurfaced in a misleading context.
The video is originally from 10 March 2018, when Khawaja Asif was at a PML-N workers’ event in Sialkot. Journalist Asad Ali Toor had tweeted (archive) about it and major media outlets such as this (archive) and this (archive) also reported on it back then.
The then-foreign minister Asif “was addressing his party workers when an unidentified man doused him with black ink from behind”, according to a report (archive). The suspect was reportedly “roughed up” by PML-N workers before being handed over to the police but the politician “pardoned the attacker instantly”.
This is not the first time the video has been rehashed. Earlier this year, when Asif’s party was in the government, the video circulated on social media platforms after his statement accusing the “vice-chancellors of some universities [of becoming] billionaires through fund embezzlement” and saying “dacoits were teaching” the country’s youth, according to a report (archive).
Soch Fact Check found that multiple PTI-leaning accounts on Facebook posted the video with the same misleading caption and, given their large followings, gained tens of thousands of views as well.
Videos available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here — all by PTI-aligned users — garnered upwards of 60,000, 60,000, 35,000, 35,000, 33,000, 16,000, 14,000, 13,000, and 10,000 views, as of writing time.
Conclusion: The video is more than five years old and does not show a recent attack on Khawaja Asif.
(Note: A previous version of this article carried the headline: “Video warning of ink attack on Khawaja Asif ahead of Nawaz’s return is old”)
Background image in cover photo: @khawajaAsifofficial
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