A photo purportedly depicting former Prime Minister Imran Khan with a grey beard has been circulating on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) since Tuesday.
The image suggests that Imran, who has been held at Adiala Jail since August of the previous year, has grown a beard during his incarceration. However, upon investigation by the fact-checking platform iVerify Pakistan, it was revealed that the photo is doctored and actually dates back to August 2023.
The misinformation originated from a social media user, seemingly a supporter of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, who posted the photo questioning its recency. This post garnered over 199,000 views and 1,100 shares. Subsequently, other X users also shared the photo, all questioning its authenticity.
iVerify Pakistan conducted a thorough examination, including a reverse image search and the use of fake image-detecting tools. The results indicated that the viral photo, showing Imran with a beard, was likely computer-generated or modified. The platform found an unaltered version of the image in a post by PTI lawyer Mashal Yousafzai on X from August 1, 2023, where Imran did not have a beard.
Moreover, Umer Burney, a Dawn reporter who has been covering Imran Khan’s court hearings at Adiala Jail and has had close encounters with him, confirmed that the circulated picture was indeed fake, and Imran remained clean-shaven.
The misinformation coincided with the day Imran Khan was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in the cipher case. iVerify Pakistan ultimately concluded that the claim and the associated image of Imran growing a beard were false, emphasizing that the original photo from August 1, 2023, did not depict him with a beard.