Mainstream media outlets in India along with some popular social media accounts have been abuzz with talks about 'civil war' happening in Pakistan. However, experts believe this to be a disinformation campaign that grossly misrepresents an ongoing political crisis in the country.
In response, Pakistani media challenged the narrative by their Indian counterparts by fact checking the claims around a civil war, while social media users had a field day trolling the Indian media with photoshopped images of supposed violence happening in Pakistan.
If you were following the news this week, you may have come across news segments and articles about violence breaking out in Karachi and other parts of Pakistan. These segments and articles talk about clashes between the Pakistan Army and Sindh Police, and an explosion that happened last Wednesday, claiming 5 lives.
The same narrative was also pushed out by some highly popular accounts, with some being verified as well.
Some less known accounts like The International Herald (@TheIntlHerald) and Dr. APR (@drapr007) also 'reported' violent clashes in Pakistan, with one of the accounts posting an obscure video purportedly showing the supposed 'civil war' in Pakistan.
BOOM was not able to ascertain the origins of the video posted by The International Herald.
What Is Really Going On In Pakistan?
Earlier this week, opposition parties in Pakistan held two joint rallies to protest against the Imran Khan-led government and his ties to the Pakistan Army. Soon, members of the opposition were arrested by paramilitary troops called rangers.
Worsening the situation was the arrest of Captain Muhammad Safdar - the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, along with the 'kidnapping' of Sindh police inspector general Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar last Wednesday, in order to force him to sign an arrest warrant for Opposition leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, a spokesman for Pakistan Peoples Party that currently holds power in the Sindh province.
What About The Bomb Blast?
Last Wednesday, an explosion in a building in Karachi's Gulshan-I-Iqbal area reportedly claimed 5 lives while injuring 20 others. According to a news report by Dawn, a bomb disposal squad was sent to the site of the explosion, but no trace of an explosive device was found.
The initial report stated that the blast occurred due to a gas leak.
But, Where Is The Civil War?
BOOM spoke to Karachi-based journalist Muhammad Omer Hayat, who refuted the 'civil war' narrative. "It is a gross misrepresentation of the political turmoil that is going on currently in the country. There is definitely no civil war here," Hayat told BOOM.
Michael Kugelman, the Deputy Director of the Asia Program and Senior Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars also tweeted out saying that the reports of civil war in Pakistan were false and part of a disinformation campaign.
"Indian disinformation accounts are exploiting Pakistan's current political crisis and falsely claiming that the country is now experiencing urban warfare and other serious instability," he said in the tweet.
Bina Shah, a Karachi-based writer told BBC, "I live in Karachi, where I just did my groceries, visited the bakery, bought some clothes and came home. If there's a civil war out there I couldn't find it."
Pakistani news outlet Dawn also wrote a fact check to refute the claims made by the Indian media.
Meanwhile, Pakistani social media had rather humorous reaction to the entire incident, with many posting photoshopped images to show the supposed 'civil war' in the country to ridicule reports by Indian media. The hashtag #CivilWarInPakistan became a top trend in the country.
BOOM has reached out to Twitter for a comment, and the article will be updated upon receiving a response.
Updated On: 2020-10-23T18:59:09+05:30