Misleading reports claimed Pakistan admitted to Dawood Ibrahim’s presence in Karachi

On August 22 and 23, several media outlets in India reported Pakistan has admitted that terrorist Dawood Ibrahim is in Karachi. Some of the media outlets that published this report include Hindustan Times (archived link), India TV (archived link), NDTV (archived link), Zee News (archived link) and India Today (archived link). Many of them reported that Pakistan admitted this for the first time.

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CNN News 18 tweeted, “#Alert – First time in decades, Pakistan admits Dawood Ibrahim is in the country.

LiveMint tweeted, “Pakistan has accepted that the alleged mastermind behind the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts lives in Karachi’s Clifton area.”

Alt News is going to verify the following claims in this report:

1) Information about Dawood Ibrahim’s address was put out by Pakistan for the first time.

2) Pakistan disputes Indian media reports, continues to deny Dawood’s presence in Pakistan.

Fact-check

On August 18, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) published an order (view PDF) stating that as per United Nations Security Council (UNSC), restrictions will be imposed on “ISIL (also known as Da’esh), Al-Qaida, and associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities.” As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Pakistan is obliged to issue a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) periodically.

One of the individuals listed in the SRO is terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. The order lists his aliases, passport number and other personal details including his address. There are three addresses mentioned in the order, all of them are from Pakistan.

a) Karachi, Pakistan (White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton)

b) House Nu 37 – 30th Street – defence, Housing Authority, Karachi, Pakistan

c) Palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad in Karachi, Pakistan

1. Dawood Ibrahim’s address not put out by Pakistan for the first time

In order to prove that Dawood Ibrahim’s address has been in the public domain for years, Alt News will rely upon Pakistan MoFA SRO from 2016 and regulations to The Council of European Union in 2002. Alt News performed a keyword search on Google restricting the results to Pakistan’s MoFA website and found three SROs   — 2015 (view pdf), 2016 (view PDF) and 2019 (view pdf). While the links were not accessible, Alt News could open their respective Google web cache versions.

As per 2019 SRO, Ibrahim’s listed addresses were:

a) Karachi, Pakistan (White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton)

b) House Nu 37 – 30th Street – defence, Housing Authority, Karachi, Pakistan

c) Palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad in Karachi, Pakistan.

The 2016 and 2015 SRO had one additional address in Ibrahim’s name apart from three mentioned in 2019 and 2020 SROs. “Address: a) Karachi, Pakistan ( White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton) b) (House Nu 37 – 30th Street – defence, Housing Authority Karachi Pakistan) c) (Palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Noorabad in Karachi) d) (Property at Margalla Raod F 6/2 Street no. 22, House number 29 in Karachi).”

Readers should note that in 2002, the Council of European Union under the regulation No 881/2002 had pinned Ibrahim’s location to two addresses in Pakistan. They are the same addresses as mentioned in the MoFA Pakistan order  —  “(a) White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton, Karachi, Pakistan, (b) House Nu 37 — 30th Street — defence, Housing Authority, Karachi Pakistan”.

Therefore the claim by India media outlets that Pakistan admitted for the first time that Ibrahim is in Pakistan is false.

2. Pakistan’s denial of Dawood Ibrahim in the country is questionable 

In a response to coverage by the Indian media, Pakistan MoFA published a press note (archived link). While explaining the statutory order published on August 18, the press note read, “These lists contain names of individuals and entities designated under the two sanction regimes established pursuant to the UN Security Council resolutions. The consolidated SROs are issued periodically as a routine matter. Similar SROs have been issued, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the past, as per statutory requirements to meet our international obligations. Last such SROs were issued in 2019.” Alt News found three similar SROs issued by Pakistan MoFA in the past  — 2015 (view pdf), 2016 (view PDF) and 2019 (view pdf).

We performed another keyword search on Google and found a 2019 press interaction between Pakistan MoFA and various journalists. Anas Mallick, Islamabad-based reporter for WION, had enquired if Ibrahim is in Pakistan or not. The Pakistan MoFA responded, “Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan, I repeat, he is not in Pakistan.” (archived link)

Expert Opinion: Taha Siddiqui, Editor in chief, South Asia Press: “Dawood in Pakistan is an open secret”

Siddiqui, a Pakistani journalist in exile, told Alt News, “The addresses mentioned on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs order on August 18 and the one published in 2016 establish that Dawood Ibrahim is in Pakistan is not new information. Thus, the reportage by Indian media is misleading. However, the response by Pakistan’s MoFA is equally misleading because they didn’t mention Dawood Ibrahim while addressing the Indian media and used the phrase “certain listed individuals”. Pakistan’s MoFA added more ambiguity when they stated that “the order continues to list persons who are deceased”. But more crucially, MoFA response began by clarifying that the order is a part of their international obligations thus shying away from their accountability. The fact that Dawood Ibrahim is in Pakistan is an open secret. It’s high time Pakistan made it clear to the world. If Pakistan’s MoFA is confident that Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan they should contest with the United Nations Security Council and the Council of European Union.”

Therefore, Pakistan’s claim that Dawood Ibrahim is not in the country is also questionable.

Other Indian media outlets that carried the misinformation

Economic Times (archived link), Times Now Hindi, Maharashtra Times, Dainik Bhaskar, Zee Hindustan, Navbharat Times, Latestly (archived link), and One India Bengali were other media organisations that published misleading reports.

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Additionally, several national and regional news channels uploaded similar news bulletin on YouTube.

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