Video of men uprooting trees over land dispute in Pakistan viral with anti-Muslim angle

Several Facebook and Twitter users have shared a one-minute video that shows men uprooting plants from a field. The viral text associated with the video reads, “Tree plantation drive was started by Pak PM Imran Khan. Look how namazi people oppose it becuase it’s un!slam!c. Planting tree is against the faith.”

Right-wing author Renee Lynn claimed that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan “copying” his Indian counterpart started a tree plantation drive but locals uprooted the trees because they consider it “against Islam”. The video gained close to 10,000 retweets and 4 lakh views as of this writing. (archived link)

Other Twitter users who shared the viral video include Major Surendra Poonia and Norwegian diplomat Erik Solheim. Poonia’s tweet gained over 8,000 retweets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pakistani Canadian author Tarek Fatah wrote in foul language that “jihads” uprooted saplings to practice “killing infidel kaafirs”.

IPS officer Dipanshu Kabra quote-tweeted Solheim and wrote, “Even God can’t bless a nation where extremist thinks, “Tree Plantation is “Anti-Islam” All religions preach that “We the people of Earth, must respect & protect all living beings and embrace our relationship with the environment. Our deepest sympathies with @ImranKhanPTI.” Kabra later deleted his tweet.

Ravinder Sangwan posted the viral video on Facebook with the same narrative. It gained over 6,700 shares.

Fact-check

Alt News performed a keyword search ‘plantation Pakistan uproots trees’ and found an August 9 report by The News, a Pakistan-based website. The article includes a video of a news bulletin that shows the viral video. The outlet also tweeted the article.

As per the report, the chaotic incident took place at the Mandi Kas area in Khyber Agency in Pakistan. Newly-planted trees were uprooted by locals over alleged “forceful plantation on private land”. The tree plantation drive was an initiative by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member Iqbal Afridi as a part of  Pakistan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, a nationwide plantation drive.

On August 9, PM Khan had organised the “biggest” plantation drive in the country with the goal to plant at least 35 lakh trees.

Afridi admitted that the plantation campaign in Mandi Kas had been carried out on private property. He told The News, “The locals were angry over the unauthorised tree plantation campaign. We’re trying to have negotiations with them.”

Speaking to Dawn, a district administration official said that there was a dispute between two powerful tribes over the ownership of the land. “One of the parties was present when the campaign was inaugurated, while the other was unaware about the drive and uprooted the saplings,” he said.

Riaz Ghafur, a former faculty member at Edwardes College Peshwar, had tweeted the viral video condemning the incident. He subsequently shared another video where people can be seen planting trees. Ghafur told Alt News that the elders of the tribe which did not oppose the plantation drive later planted trees on the same land.

Thus, social media claim that people in Pakistan opposed a tree plantation campaign because it is “unIslamic” to plant trees is ridiculous and false.

Donate to Alt News!
Independent journalism that speaks truth to power and is free of corporate and political control is possible only when people start contributing towards the same. Please consider donating towards this endeavour to fight fake news and misinformation.

Donate Now

To make an instant donation, click on the "Donate Now" button above. For information regarding donation via Bank Transfer/Cheque/DD, click here.
You could follow Alt News posts either via our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter or by subscribing to our E-mail updates.


Send this to a friend