Fact-Check: Orya Maqbool Jan Shares Picture Of Minar-e-Pakistan From 2019 And Blames Caretaker Govt

Fact-Check: Orya Maqbool Jan Shares Picture Of Minar-e-Pakistan From 2019 And Blames Caretaker Govt
Aged journalist and TV commentator Orya Maqbool Jan, known for his controversial opinions and ideological slant, recently shared a picture of Lahore's Greater Manto Park, home to the Minar-e-Pakistan national monument, inundated in water.

In the tweet posted on March 24 from his verified account, the journalist ascribed the state of affairs to the caretaker Punjab government's performance, or lack thereof. Orya wrote that the "water released here is enough to drown the entire Punjab cabinet in shame".

However, a rudimentary image search revealed that the picture of a flooded Manto Park, which Orya Maqbool Jan posted to flay the incumbent authorities, is actually from 2019. It took journalist Bilal Ghauri less than five hours to identify this misrepresentation:


As it turns out, the image was originally published by a mainstream English Daily on July 17, 2019. At the time, Pakistan (PTI) chairman Imran Khan was prime minister and his favoured sidekick Usman Buzdar, affectionately dubbed "Wasim Akram Plus", was chief minister of Punjab.

In essence, the 'senior' journalist attempted to use evidence of the PTI government's own inadequacy, against those whom it currently perceives as its opponents. It appears that the recent thunderstorms and rainfall in the provincial capital might have 'convinced' Orya that the image is recent, not from four years ago.

Ghauri also tweeted that Orya Maqbool Jan is a former civil servant whose offices were at Badshahi Mosque near the Minar-e-Pakistan monument, so Orya ought to be closely familiar with the area and its layout. "At first glance, it becomes clear that the picture is old," Ghauri tweeted.


Orya Maqbool Jan is alleged to be a Taliban apologist and more recently was the subject of 'comparisons' by a member of Pakistan's legal fraternity.

This tweet appears to be yet another episode in the ongoing saga of fake news being used to build social media cacophony that pervades Pakistan. The entire effort seems designed to undermine the very foundations of the Pakistani state and government institutions, in what many argue is the unrelenting pursuit of certain political ambitions.

Social media trends, amplification of fake news, misleading reporting, and at times blatant rumour mongering, are presumed to be undertaken at the behest of specific interest groups and a particular political party. But credible investigations into these nefarious online activities have yet to take place. Many believe that the unprecedented direct ridicule that the miltablishment — the Pakistan army and its senior generals — is currently facing, prevents the state from 'drawing a line' between freedom of speech versus every human's right to dignity.