A video of thousands of protesters gathered in public and chanting slogans has been shared on social media with the claim that it shows Pakistani citizens protesting against prime minister Imran Khan and the Pakistani army. Many users have tweeted there’s a “war-like situation” in Pakistan with the hashtag #CivilWarinPakistan.

Islamist party Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) has been protesting in the country the past three days, leading seven persons dead and 350 policemen injured. “The TLP had launched the country-wide protest on Monday following the arrest of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi ahead of April 20 deadline the Islamists had given to the Imran Khan government demanding expulsion of the French ambassador for publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammad,” reported PTI. The protest was sparked by French president Emmanuel Macron’s support for displaying caricatures of Prophet Muhammed after a high school teacher was beheaded for showing them in class.

ANI used a still from the video while reporting on the arrest of Saad Hussain Rizvi. The outlet wrote ‘War-like situation in Pakistan’ in its headline.

Twitter user @saffronhindoo also claimed that the video shows recent protests. His tweet drew 50,000 views.

Similarly, @idnani_nandini wrote “this is only the trailer” with the #CivilWarinPakistan hashtag. This video has been view over 20,000 times.

Propaganda news outlet The Tatva posted this video on its Instagram handle and wrote, “Deadly Anti-French protests, riots escalated in Pakistan.” It was uploaded on April 14, since then has gained over 50,000 views.

Facebook page ‘द Hindu Cafe‘ posted a still from The Tatva’s social media post.

Fact-check

Our research led us to a tweet by Twitter user @sa_di12. The user has posted the video in question on January 3.

As per this tweet, the video shows a mass gathering during Khadim Hussain Rizvi chehlum. ‘Chehlum’ is a religious observance in Islam held forty days after the death of a person. Rizvi was the founder of TLP.

He passed away on November 19, 2020, at the age of 54. A report by by Pakistan-based 24 News and social media hashtag #3Jan_KHR_Chehlum establish that Rizvi’s chehlum was held on January 3. As per Dawn, people attended Rizvi’s chehlum near Yateem Khana Chowk on Multan Road, Lahore.

Rummaging the tweets that used #3Jan_KHR_Chehlum, we found the viral video was tweeted by Twitter user @umeralvi009 on January 3. Other users who posted the viral video include @Gillani_TLP and @TLP_5.

We also found a January 4 tweet by @RealTLPMarkaz which uploaded multiple images of a huge gathering underneath an overground metro track, the same seen in the viral video. This account has been suspended by Twitter. However, several users reposted these images on social media including @ramzanchand201.

YouTube channel Sabi Rabi Vlogs posted a drone view of Rizvi’s chehlum where the same chants raised in the viral video can be heard.

Several media outlets have reported the recent TLP clash with Pakistan authorities. April 14 bulletin by Pakistan-based Dekhty Raho TV establishes that the footfall in recent protests is not comparable with the turnout for Rizvi’s funeral procession.

On April 16 AFP reported, “Pakistan’s government orders telecoms agency to temporarily shut down social media and instant messaging platforms – such as Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, YouTube and Telegram – after days of violent anti-France protests.”

A video from January is being falsely linked with the recent clash between Islamist group TLP with Pakistan authorities.

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About the Author

Archit is a graduate in English Literature from The MS University of Baroda. He also holds a post-graduation diploma in journalism from the Asian College of Journalism. Since then he has worked at Essel Group's English news channel at WION as a trainee journalist, at S3IDF as a fundraising & communications officer and at The Hindu as a reporter. At Alt News, he works as a fact-checking journalist.