OPERATED BY CEJ

False

FACT-CHECKED

by CEJ |

TLP workers were not killed by PML-N workers amid political violence in Lahore

On January 28, 2024, a post circulated on social media platform X claiming armed PML-N workers opened fire on a Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan office in Lahore and killed people. However, no one was killed in the incident.

Claim

TLP workers shot to death in political violence

Rating Justification

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

To arrive to this verdict, the iVerify Pakistan team has examined the first information report (FIR) of the incident and the condemnatory statement issued by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

HOW IT STARTED

On January 28, 2024, a post was shared by a social media user, who appears to be a PTI supporter based on his past posts and display picture, on platform X with the caption: “In response to the shoe attack on Hamza Shahbaz after committing the worst injustice against the worker of Tehreek-i-Labbaik, PML-N leader Ghazali Saleem Butt and others fired at the Tehreek-i-Labbaik office in Lahore’s Badami Bagh and martyred political workers. These traitors of Khatm-i-Nabuwat, thieves [and] dacoits are carrying out terrorism.”

However, no actual number of TLP workers allegedly killed was mentioned in the post. A photograph of an individual wearing a red jacket laying on the ground with his eyes closed and blood near his head was also shared with the post.

The post received over 300,000 views and 3,800 shares.

The same post with the same caption was shared by another apparent PTI supporter here, gaining over 20,000 views.

The same post was also shared here, here, here and here, gaining over 51,000 views collectively.

METHODOLOGY

The iVerify Pakistan team sought to determine the veracity of the claim since it is an alleged case of political violence and bloodshed leading up to the February 8 general elections just 10 days away. The posts examined also used religious charged terminology against the PML-N with possible dangerous consequences.

Conducting a keyword search for “TLP”, “Badami Bagh” and “Lahore” yielded a Jan 29 story from leading English daily The News International titled: “Cases registered against firing incidents at TLP, PPP election offices”.

It said that an FIR was registered at Lahore’s Badami Bagh police station over a firing incident at a TLP election office.

According to the report, a TLP leader accused suspects of attacking the party’s office in the PP-147 constituency and injuring workers.

“Reportedly, the situation became tense in the locality after a shoe hurling incident at Hamza Shehbaz was reported during the election campaign,” the report said. However, it did not date the incident.

The iVerify Pakistan team next examined the FIR — courtesy of Dawn reporter Wasim Riaz — registered at the Badami Bagh police station on Jan 27 at 11pm on the complaint of TLP leader Muhammad Akram Rizvi.

The FIR was registered under Sections 109 (abetment), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) and 324 (murder attempt) of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 (punishment for acts of terrorism) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Rizvi said that he and TLP workers were present in an election office near Madni Chowk when armed men brandishing weapons arrived and began mocking those inside the office that “who are you to contest elections against Ghazali Saleem Butt”. The FIR identified 10 of them by name.

It must be mentioned that Butt is the PML-N contestant for PP-146 while former chief minister Hamza Shahbaz is the candidate for PP-147.

Rizvi said the armed men issued death threats and opened fire on the office and those inside, injuring them. He added that the men issued a warning of death if any TLP worker was spotted in the area again.

Rizvi called for immediate legal action against the identified individuals, urging authorities to ensure justice.

The FIR listed injuries that various TLP workers inside the office sustained but did not mention any death.

Next, the iVerify Pakistan team checked a condemnatory statement from the TLP spokesperson — courtesy Riaz.

The statement alleged that the “PML-N is showing its old ugly face by attacking and harassing political workers”.

The spokesperson additionally prayed for the “speedy recovery of our PP-146 candidate Akram Rizvi and other workers who got injured in the attack” and called on the chief minister and Election Commission of Pakistan to take immediate notice of the matter.

The statement did not mention or speak of any deaths in the incident.

Through Dawn reporter Adnan Sheikh, the iVerify team contacted Ibn Ismail Shami, a member of the TLP media team, and questioned him about the alleged deaths.

He told the platform that no party workers were killed in the incident. He said 10 people were injured with one shot in the eye whose situation was critical — identified as Sameer Azam in the FIR.

Shami said the critically injured person was the one in the photograph circulating online of the individual in the red jacket lying on the ground with blood pooled near his head. He said people nearby had thought the person to be dead due to the extent of his injuries.

Shami added that the person was first taken to Mayo Hospital and then to Lahore General Hospital where he was admitted in the intensive care unit.

BACKGROUND

Electioneering and campaigning are heating up with polls set less than two weeks away on Feb 8.

According to a Jan 28 Dawn report, a young man threw a shoe at Hamza during an election rally in Lahore’s NA-118 constituency on Jan 27.

“Immediately after the incident, the PML-N workers overpowered the man who hurled the shoe on their leader and gave him a sound thrashing before handing him over to police,” the report said.

Hamza Shehbaz is contesting the elections from Lahore’s PP-147 constituency while the TLP candidate is Azm Waheed.

Meanwhile, Butt is the PML-N ticket holder from the PP-146 constituency while the TLP candidate is Rizvi.

CONCLUSION

The iVerify Pakistan team has determined that the claim about the TLP workers killed during political violence by PML-N workers in Lahore is false.

Neither the FIR for the incident nor the TLP spokesperson’s statement corroborate the claim or mention any death in the incident. A further TLP official also confirmed that no deaths were caused although one person was seriously injured.