The Pakistani government declared that captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman will be released on March 1 as a “peace gesture”. Soon after, both Pakistani and Indian social media ecosystems were brimming with photographs that claimed to depict an overwhelmed mother of the officer.

A few social media users also shared the images with the narrative that they depicted wing commander Abhinandan’s mother praising PM Imran Khan for releasing her son.

Alt News found that the photographs were first shared by a Facebook user Yasmeen Arora Munshi using the caption, “A MOTHER of INDIAN pilot ABHINANDAN begging to IMRAN_KHAN for the release of his SON THANKS IMRAN KHAN.” Her post received more than 5,300 shares at the time of writing this article.

The claim is viral on both Facebook and Twitter.

Old, unrelated photographs

Alt News reverse-searched the images and traced them back to October 4, 2018, when they were tweeted by a user Namrah Khan.

We also compared the old woman’s photograph with the images of wing commander Abhinandan’s mother available on the internet. The pictures don’t match.

Recently, Alt News debunked another piece of misinformation related to the officer’s family. A video was made viral with the false claim that wing commander Abhinandan’s wife was requesting the BJP to not politicise soldiers’ sacrifices.

About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.