On January 6, Canadian columnist Tarek Fatah tweeted a video along with the text, “CAUTION: Disturbing Video: Taliban jihadis hang and then shoot dead a captured Pakistani soldier. As Makcolm X once said, “the chickens have come home to roost.”

The tension between the Pakistani establishment and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or Pakistani Taliban, which has been on the rise of late with over 100 alleged attacks in the last 50 days, reached its climax when detained extremists in mid-December took control of the counter-terrorism depart­ment centre in the city of Bannu in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region and took officials as hostage.

The video has been viewed over 3.5 lakh times the tweet has gone viral with over 3,000 retweets. It shows the public execution of a man covered in Pakistan’s national flag. Gunmen along with a black flag with Arabic text can be spotted in the video. People can be heard saying Allahu Akbar soon after the man is shot in the head twice with a pistol.

Multiple twitter users, including @satyaagrahindia and @Dil_se_Fauji_, have shared this clip along with the same text, including the mis-spelt word ‘Makcolm’.

We also found that this video was shared on Facebook a number of times along with the same text as seen in Fatah’s tweet.

(Since the footage can be disturbing for viewers, we have not embedded the tweets. Instead we have used screenshots.)

Fact Check

Alt News performed a Google search using the following keywords — ‘pakistan man hanged by taliban’ and found two reports from October 2015.

The article with the headline ‘Pakistani Taliban says hanged military officer as revenge for executions‘ reported, “…Pakistani Taliban has hanged a military intelligence officer in retaliation for recent executions of militants by Pakistan..”

The report added, “Pakistan reinstated the death penalty last December after Taliban gunmen massacred 134 school children. Since then the Taliban have staged several deadly attacks, but the videos of the hanging appear to be the first staged execution of a military officer since the restoration of the death penalty.” As per the report, a man who was executed identified himself as Bashir Ahmad Khan in one of the videos.

The description of one of the videos in the report matches the viral video in question. It says, “In the second video, Khan is shown wrapped in a Pakistani flag, his eyes bound with black cloth and a noose around his neck… other militants shoot at his body and shout: ‘God is great’.”

Next, Alt News performed a keyword search using the name of the victim on Twitter and found that the account Terrormonitor.com had tweeted stills from the video in 2015. In a statement to Reuters in 2015, the Pakistan military denied that the man shown in the videos released by the Taliban was one of its intelligence officers.

To sum it up, Canadian columnist Tarek Fatah shared an unverified clip of a man’s execution by Taliban militants in 2015 without any context. The tweet can mislead viewers to believe that it is a recent video given the fact that tension between the Pakistan establishment and the Pakistani Taliban is on the rise.

Tarek Fatah has been found to be sharing misinformation multiple times in the past. Readers can find the relevant Alt News fact checks here.

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About the Author

He joined as an intern in 2019. Until June 2022, his work primarily focused on fact-checking. Now his primary responsibilities include catalysing all aspects of organisational growth — from fundraising to development of new projects at Alt News. He attended the Asian College of Journalism (2015-16) and The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (2012-2015). In past, he worked at The Hindu and Zee Media's WION.
Tipline Bling: archit@altnews.in