Photo shows Imran Khan with Pakistani politician, not late Iranian president

A photo of Pakistan's jailed former leader Imran Khan with a political ally before he was ousted as prime minister was shared in false posts that claimed it showed him with the late Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi. The image -- viewed hundreds of thousands of times -- circulated after Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in northern Iran.

The misrepresented picture -- which shows Khan grasping the hand of a bearded man in a cream robe -- was featured in a TikTok video viewed more than 498,000 times since May 20, 2024.

It was overlaid with text written in Arabic and Urdu that translated as: "To Allah, we belong, and to him, we will return. Iranian President. May Allah elevate his place in paradise."

The picture was shared alongside two photos of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi who was confirmed dead on May 20 after his aircraft came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran.

A screenshot taken on June 7, 2024, of the misleading TikTok post

The same TikTok video was shared here. The picture of Khan and the bearded man was also shared on YouTube here and here; and Facebook here and here alongside the same false claim.

Comments on posts indicated many users were misled.

"Rest in peace," one wrote.

"Was (a) great leader," said another.

Khan was pictured meeting Raisi when he was Pakistan's prime minister in September 2021 on the sidelines of the 21st Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (archived link).

However, the image shared in social media posts shows Khan with a Pakistani politician, not Raisi. 

Pakistan senator

A Google reverse image search found it was previously published on Khan's official Facebook account on July 26, 2023 (archived link).

"A visit by a delegation of Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen led by to Zaman Park Allama Raja Nasir Abbas and meeting with Chairman Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan," read part of the caption to the post, which also included another photo of the meeting.

Senator Jafari is a Khan ally and heads the Shiite political party Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen Pakistan (archived link).

Zaman Park refers to Khan's residence in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misrepresented picture (left) and the corresponding photo published on Khan's Facebook account (right): 

Screenshot comparison of the image shared in false posts (left) and the original photo from 2023 (right)

Identical photos were posted on Jafari's Facebook account on July 7, 2023 (archived link).

A Pakistan high court overturned a treason conviction against Khan on June 3, 2024, months after his party was sidelined in a general election.

The conviction was one of three slapped on Khan in the runup to February polls -- cases he claims were orchestrated to prevent his return to power. 

Khan remains jailed on a seven-year sentence for breaking Islamic law by marrying his wife Bushra Bibi too soon after her divorce. 

He has also been found guilty of graft over gifts he received while he was premier between 2018 and 2022.

AFP has fact-checked more misinformation about Khan here.

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