Video Of Men Uprooting Saplings In Pakistan Viral With Islamophobic Claim

BOOM found that the video shows angry locals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa uprooting saplings to protest against the government as the saplings were planted over land where the ownership is in dispute.

A video from Pakistan showing a frenzied group uprooting plant saplings and waving black flags, is being shared on social media with captions falsely claiming that the men were doing so as planting trees is against Islam.

BOOM found that the incident took place on August 9, 2020 at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan where angry locals uprooted saplings as a mark of protests as the saplings were reportedly planted over land where the ownership is in dispute.

The Pakistani government launched the country's largest plantation drive on August 9 on the occasion of 'Tiger Force day'. The drive was taken up all over the country and the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted about their target of planting 35 lakh or more trees in a day. The initiative is aimed at fighting climate change. Khan also tweeted pictures of the plantation drive from all over the country thanking people for their support.

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The viral video showing a group of men uprooting saplings and waving black flags while raising slogans has been tweeted from several verified Twitter handles with fake claims.

Bharatiya Janata Party member and retired army major Surendra Punia tweeted the video with text claiming, 'Imran Khan copied PM Shri Modi's 'Tree Plantation Drive' in Pakistan but his followers uprooted all trees because they feel "Planting trees is against Islam".

The video has also been shared from the Twitter handle (archive) of columnist Tarek Fateh with a disparaging caption.

Twitter user Rene Lynn also tweeted the video (archive) with the caption 'Modi Ji on Earth Day started "Plant Trees" project because it has many benefits. Now Pakistan PM Imran Khan is copying Modi & started the "Tree Plantation Drive". Look at these idiot vultures in Pakistan ripping out all the trees. They said "Planting trees is against Islam".'

The same video (archive) was tweeted by Norwegian former politician Erik Solheim with a caption reading 'Prime minister Imran Khan of Pakistan🇵🇰 this weekend organized massive treplanting. Extremists attacked the great efforts of the prime minister claiming it is against islam. Crazy! All religions call upon us to protect Mother Earth'.

The video has been shared from several Twitter handles with similar Islamophobic captions.

The same video is viral on Facebook.

The viral post shared below has a long Hindi caption which can be summarised as 'Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a Plant Trees initiative on Earth Day. Copying Modi, Pakistani PM Imran Khan started a similar initiative but the radical Islamist jihadis declared that planting trees is against Islam and uprooted all the trees'.

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Fact Check

BOOM ran a reverse image search on a key frame from the viral video and found a report on Khabarnaamaa, a Pakistan-based web portal that carried screenshots from the same video calling it an incident reported in Khyber's Bara Mandi area.

We then did a keyword search with 'Khyber and tree plantation drive' and found other news reports about the incident.

A report published in Pakistan Today website mentions that the incident took place on August 9 after the residents of the area where the plantation drive was taken up started protesting as the land was a disputed site.

According to the report, the residents were protesting against the local administration for taking up the plantation drive on the land without seeking permission.

A report published in Dawn, the local elders had claimed that the government had taken up the drive on their land in order to deprive them of it. A district administration official had told Dawn that 'there was a dispute between two powerful tribes over the ownership of the land'.

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We also found a video tweeted by Khyber TV with an Urdu caption which translates to 'In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Bara Mandi area, a major tree-planting dispute has erupted, with angry protesters uprooting the weeds. Demonstrators say the weeds were planted on disputed land'.

The video has been shot from a different angle.

More reports on the incident can be found here.

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Updated On: 2020-09-15T12:25:15+05:30
Claim :   Video shows Muslims uprooting saplings in Pakistan as planting trees is against Islam
Claimed By :  Social media
Fact Check :  False
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