OPERATED BY CEJ

False

FACT-CHECKED

by CEJ |

Fake account claiming to be PTI lawyer Mashal Yousafzai says Imran back in Banigala

On February 12, 2024, an X account claiming to be of PTI lawyer Mashal Yousafzai said Imran Khan was back in Banigala. However, the account is fake and Imran is still in Adiala Jail.

Claim

PTI lawyer Mashal Yousafzai says Imran Khan back in Banigala

Rating Justification

The iVerify Pakistan team has checked this content and has established that it is false.

To arrive at this verdict, the iVerify Pakistan team has investigated the X account making the claim and contacted PTI founder Imran Khan’s legal team as well.

HOW IT STARTED

On February 12, 2024, an X account with the name of Mashal Yousafzai said, “Big news! My captain has reached Banigala. Thank God.”

The post gained over 11,000 views and 118 reshares.

The account’s bio described the user as an attorney at law, PTI’s central legal coordinator and the focal person of the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF).

The claim was also shared here, here and here.

Similarly, another claim regarding a deterioration in Imran’s health in Adiala Jail was also doing the rounds on X on Feb 12.

A post by journalist Safina Khan claiming the same gained over 35,000 views.

The claim was further shared here, here and here.

METHODOLOGY

The iVerify Pakistan team sought to determine the veracity of the claim due to the public’s keen interest in the former prime minister who is presently incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

Furthermore, Yousafzai is a part of Imran’s legal team and yet the claim from the account was not shared by other official PTI pages which raised questions.

In the first step of the investigation, the iVerify Pakistan team found another account for the PTI lawyer.

The account making the claim regarding Imran was made on November 2023 and has 1,779 followers. It is also not a verified account.

The other account joined X in June 2018 and has over 124,000 followers. It is also a verified account with a blue checkmark.

The bio of the older account said: “Attorney at Law/Central Legal Coordinator @PTIofficial. Generation Change Fellow @USIP. Young Leader @UN. Focal Person ILF Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad.”

Furthermore, the older account was also followed by official PTI pages and associated individuals such as party leader Moonis Elahi.

The nature of the posts from the older account also showed them to be coming from Yousafzai’s official account related to party affairs compared to the random posts from the unverified account.

Regarding the claim of the PTI founder back in his Banigala residence, Dawn correspondents Umer Burney and Malik Asad, who have been covering Imran’s court hearings in Adiala Jail and have been seeing him up close, both denied the claim and said Imran was still in prison.

Asad also contacted PTI lawyer and spokesperson Shoaib Shaheen who denied the rumours, saying that Imran was still in Adiala Jail and in good health.

PTI lawyer Abuzar Salman Niazi also confirmed the same in a post on X.

“I just checked, Imran Khan sahib is perfectly fine. The news regarding him being sick is just a rumour,” he said.

IMRAN KHAN’S INCARCERATION

On August 5, 2023, the PTI founder was sentenced to three years of imprisonment by an Islamabad trial court in a case related to state gifts. The case, filed by the Election Commission of Pakistan, had accused the PTI leader of not mentioning the details of state gifts in his tax declarations.

The Islamabad High Court set aside the sentence on Aug 29 and ordered his release. However, he was not freed as he was undergoing trial in the cipher and other cases.

The PTI chief currently remains incarcerated in Adiala Jail and has since been convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in other cases as well.

Imran was granted bail in a dozen cases related to the riots on May 9, 2023, by a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court on Feb 10. The PTI founder’s release was also ordered by the court but was not implemented due to his prior convictions.

CONCLUSION

The iVerify Pakistan team has determined that the claims regarding the PTI founder being back in Banigala and his health deteriorating in Adiala Jail are both false.

The team concluded that the account posing as a member of the PTI’s legal team is also verifiably fake when compared with Yousufzai’s official X account.

PTI officials also confirmed that Imran was in good health and still held in Adiala Jail.

Evidence and References

Mashal Yousufzai’s official X account:
https://twitter.com/AkMashal

PTI lawyer Abuzar Salman Niazi’s X post on February 12, 2024:
https://web.archive.org/save/https://x.com/SalmanKNiazi1/status/1757028515168305546?s=20