This image has been shared since February 2021 in connection to another protest in Pakistan

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

An image has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter posts, along with a claim that it shows tear gas shells used against protesters marching for justice after the deaths of four teenagers in the Pakistani town of Janikhel in March 2021. The claim is false; the image emerged online the month before the marches, in posts about government workers protesting for higher wages.

The image was posted on March 29, 2021, here on Facebook, where it has been shared more than 140 times since.  

“These are the shells of the ammunition. This isn’t firing on Kashmiris by the Indian army, rather it’s firing done by the Pakistani police yesterday on those protesting against the Janikhel Bannu tragedy,” the Urdu-language caption reads.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 1, 2021

The photo was shared online after tribesmen from Janikhel, a town in Pakistan’s northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, began marching to Islamabad on March 28, 2021, demanding justice following a week of protests over four teenagers found dead on March 18, 2021. The boys’ families claim they had been tortured by Pakistani security forces, Pakistani media outlet Dawn News reported here.

The image has been shared more than 120 times after appearing with a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here and here; and on Twitter here and here.

The claim, however, is false. 

A reverse image search found that the same image previously appeared on February 11, 2021, on Facebook, such as here and here.

The Urdu-language caption of both posts say: “Flowers showered on the nation’s builders” – referring to government employees being tear-gassed. 

Security forces fired tear gas at government workers protesting to demand higher wages on February 10, 2021, in Islamabad, as reported by Pakistani media outlets Dawn News here, Samaa TV here and Geo News here.

Below is a comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo from February 2021 (R):

Comparison of the photo from the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo from February 2021 (R)

On February 10, 2021, Hamid Mir, a journalist with Pakistani media outlet Geo News, tweeted a photo of himself at the protest site and compared it to a “chemical war”.