Fact check: Viral photo of Imran Khan with a beard is doctored

Published January 31, 2024
The screengrab shows a doctored image of PTI founder Imran Khan sporting a beard.
The screengrab shows a doctored image of PTI founder Imran Khan sporting a beard.

A photo of former prime minister Imran Khan has been circulating on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) since Tuesday. It showed the PTI founder, who has been incarcerated at Adiala Jail since August last year, sporting a grey beard.

The photo, however, is doctored and dates back to August 2023.

According to fact-checking platform iVerify Pakistan, a social media user — who appears to be a PTI supporter based on her posts and header display on X — put up a photo of Imran in which he could be seen with a beard.

The user questioned if the ex-premier’s photo was recent. The post gained over 199,000 views and was shared 1,100 times. The same photo was shared by other X users as well, all asking if the image was a recent one.

It must be noted that the photo went viral the same day Imran was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in the cipher case.

Investigating the claims, the iVerify platform conducted a reverse image search and ran the photo through a fake image-detecting tool. According to the results, the viral photo in which the beard is visible seemed to be either computer-generated or a modified image.

The platform said a reverse image search of the tampered photo yielded a post by PTI lawyer Mashal Yousafzai on X from August 1, 2023. The lawyer had posted the same photo, where the beard in question was notably missing.

Furthermore, Dawn reporter Umer Burney, who has been covering the PTI founder’s court hearings at Adiala Jail and has seen him up close, confirmed that the picture was fake and Imran was still clean-shaven.

The iVerify team came to the conclusion that the claim and associated image of Imran currently growing a beard were false.

The original Aug 1 photo of the former prime minister does not show him with a beard and a reporter also confirmed that Imran does not currently have a beard.


This fact check has been published in partnership with iVerify Pakistan — a project of CEJ and UNDP

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