'Gunfire celebration' video falsely linked to former Pakistan PM Khan's illegal marriage case

After a court rejected a plea to suspend the jail terms of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi, whose marriage was ruled illegal under Islamic law, a video recirculated in online posts falsely claiming it shows her ex-husband Khawar Maneka celebrating the decision. The clip has been shared online since March 2021 in reports about Maneka participating in celebratory gunfire at his son's wedding. 

"That's it. Khawar Maneka celebrating victory after Imran Khan and Pinky Peerni (Bibi) were declared adulterers," read an Urdu-language X post on June 27 that shared the video of Maneka firing a gun at the sky.

Former international cricket star Khan and Bibi -- commonly known as Pinky Peerni because of her work as a faith healer -- were sentenced to seven years in jail in February on charges that, under Islamic law, their marriage came too soon after her divorce from Maneka.

Maneka has accused Bibi of failing to adhere to "iddat", which dictates that a divorced woman must wait three months before remarrying.

Screenshot of an X post sharing the false claim, taken on July 4, 2024

Khan has been entangled in more than 200 legal cases since he was booted from office in April 2022 in what he said was a campaign to keep him from power.

The video recirculated in a wave of Facebook and X posts after an Islamabad judge on June 27 deferred the plea to suspend Khan and Bibi's sentences. A separate court will rule on an appeal of their conviction on July 12.

Many social media users appeared to believe the false claim that the footage shows Maneka celebrating after the June 27 court hearing.

"Khawar Maneka is affected. His happy home was wrecked," one X user commented.

"Pakistani police should investigate if he has a licence for this weapon," another wrote.

Wedding celebration

A reverse image search found the video posted online in March 2021, years before Khan and Bibi were jailed.

The Daily Pakistan newspaper reported on March 14, 2021 that the footage showed Maneka joining "wacky celebrations" at his son's wedding (archived link).

Pakistani news site Naya Daur Media posted the clip the same day, saying it showed him "engaging in aerial firing" (archived link).

Below is a screenshot of the video shared on social media (left) and posted by Naya Daur Media (right):

Screenshot of the video shared on social media (left) and the clip posted by Naya Daur Media (right)

Maneka faced backlash for the stunt after the video circulated online, Daily Pakistan reported.

Khan, who remains wildly popular in Pakistan, is a frequent target for misinformation spreaders.

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