OPERATED BY CEJ

False

FACT-CHECKED

by CEJ |

Pakistanis have not been recently deported from Europe for any anti-state activities

On June 10, 2024, posts circulating on social media platform X claimed that 40 Pakistanis were deported from Europe due to anti-state activities. However, the Pakistanis were actually deported in December 2023 for being radicalised.

Claim

Pakistanis deported from Europe due to anti-state activity

Rating Justification

The iVerify Pakistan team has reviewed this content and determined that it is false.

To reach this conclusion, the iVerify Pakistan team investigated the claim by checking different news stories with the help of relevant keywords to corroborate the claim.

Multiple posts have been circulating on social media since June 10, claiming that 40 Pakistanis were deported from Europe due to anti-state activity. However, Pakistanis were actually deported back in December 2023 for being radicalised.

HOW IT STARTED

On June 10, 2024, a 57-second news clip was shared by Abdullah Gul, son of former intelligence chief Hamid Gul, on social media platform X.

His post, which gained over 43,000 views, had the caption: “Forty barking Pakistanis deported from Europe. Those who bark at the state of Pakistan can no longer hide in any corner of the world.”

The same clip with a similar caption was shared on June 11 by former Balochistan caretaker information minister Jan Achakzai on X. The post was seen by over 20,000 users.

A similar post by a pro-military X user also gained over 23,000 views.

Meanwhile, former PTI supporter and social media activist turned party critic Farhan Virk had also shared the same clip on June 10, albeit with a different caption. His post gained over 86,000 views.

The post’s caption said: “It is only Pakistan that has given freedom to PTI. In Europe, where the freedom of speech is drummed up, PTI-affiliated overseas [Pakistanis] started being deported in droves. The reason is the use of foul language on social media. Dubai already has a visa ban due to PTI’s foul language.”

METHODOLOGY

A fact check was initiated to determine the veracity of the claim due to its virality and the matter concerning the public interest regarding deportations from Europe.

Examining the news clip from Samaa TV first showed that it was not reporting on any recent development but was dated December 19, 2023. The correspondent in the clip said a total of 40 Pakistanis from Spain (15), Greece (15) and Georgia (10) were arrested on charges of spreading hate speech and inciteful material on social media of a political and religious nature.

Investigating further with the help of relevant keywords such as “Pakistanis”, “deported” and “Europe” led to various international news stories on the incident.

The first news story was published by the Spain-based English newspaper The Olive Press on December 18, 2023, with the headline: “‘Radicalised’ extremist Pakistanis are thrown out of Spain”.

According to the report, Spain’s interior ministry had deported 14 “radicalised Pakistani citizens accused of promoting extreme interpretations of Islam”. It added that the deportations followed arrests on November 6 last year in various cities.

“This radical group reveals a new type of serious threat to public security posed by individuals, not linked to jihadist groups such as Daesh or Al Qaeda, but with a very intransigent and rigorous interpretation of religion,” the report quoted the Spanish interior ministry as saying, adding that the individuals had supported violence and idolised terrorist actions by followers of their organisation.

A second news report was published by the leading Spain-based English newspaper Euro Weekly News on Nov 7, 2023, with the headline: “Spanish police arrest 14 suspected Pakistani jihadists in several provinces”.

According to the story, Spanish authorities dismantled a “suspected jihadist network” on Nov 7 by arresting 14 Pakistani-origin individuals across several provinces.

“It is believed that these individuals formed a network in which jihadist messages and a high degree of radicalisation were transmitted online,” the report said.

Pakistani news outlets Urdu News and Dunya News had also reported on December 14 and 15, respectively, about the flight that brought the deported Pakistanis back to the country. Both reports said they were sent back on charges related to extremism.

FACT-CHECK STATUS: FALSE

The claim regarding Pakistanis deported from Europe due to any anti-state activities or speaking out against Pakistan is false.

The aforementioned Pakistanis were actually deported back in December 2023 on completely unrelated charges that concerned extremism and radicalisation instead of having anything to do with the ongoing political context of Pakistan.

Furthermore, neither the international nor domestic reports identified those deported back as belonging to the PTI or affiliated with it in any way.