Reports of Pakistani Journalist's Arrest in 2016 Shared With Misleading Claim

The caption refers to the "Minar-e-Pakistan incident" -- an alleged assault on Pakistani social media star Ayesha Akram and her friends by a large crowd in August.

A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple social media posts in October 2021 alongside a claim that a Pakistani investigative journalist was arrested in connection with a harassment case that caused widespread outrage. The video has been shared in a misleading context: it has previously circulated in reports about the journalist being arrested over an unrelated incident in 2016. There have been no official reports that the journalist was arrested in October 2021 over the harassment case.

The video was posted here on Twitter on October 11 by a user with more than 100,000 followers.

It shows police escorting Syed Iqrar ul Hassan -- a Pakistani journalist and host of investigative programme Sar e Aam -- and another man in handcuffs.

The caption refers to the "Minar-e-Pakistan incident" -- an alleged assault on Pakistani social media star Ayesha Akram and her friends by a large crowd while they were filming a video in August in Lahore.

Pakistani news outlet Dawn reported on the alleged assault here.

The footage sparked outrage in socially conservative Pakistan.

"Iqrar ul Hassan has been arrested for playing the role of the devil in the Minar-e-Pakistan incident. Amazing action by the police. This person had all of Pakistan defamed," the Urdu-language tweet reads.

Screenshot taken on October 13, 2021 of a tweet falsely purporting to show Iqrar ul Hassan's arrest in connection to the Minar-e-Pakistan incident

Iqrar ul Hassan subsequently faced a backlash online after he appeared to express support for Akram in an interview with her, Pakistani media outlet MM News reported.

The video was shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter here, here and here; on Facebook here, here and here; and on YouTube here, here and here.

However, the claim is misleading. There have been no official reports that Hassan has been arrested over the Akram case in October 2021.

The video has previously circulated online in reports about an incident he was detained over in 2016.

Parts of the video correspond with an episode of Hassan's show "Sar e Aam" posted here on YouTube on July 20, 2017.

The video's title translates to English as: "Biggest sting operation in the history of Pakistan".

In the video, Hassan recounts a 2016 incident in which his team smuggled a gun into the Sindh provincial parliament in an attempt to expose the building's inadequate security.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the footage in the misleading posts (L) and the Sar e Aam video (R):

Screenshot comparing the video in the false posts (L) and the one from Iqrar ul Hassan's show (R). Taken on October 13, 2021. ( AFP / )

"For the 26 April, 2016 session, a member of the Sar e Aam team arrived for his final test," Hassan says at the longer video's 18-minute mark.

Following the stunt, Hassan's arrest was widely reported in local media.

"Hassan, the host of popular program Sar-e-Aam, was arrested on orders of Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal for highlighting poor security at the assembly, but was released on bail a day after," ARY News reported on May 1, 2016.

"During the session, Iqrar asked his crew member to unveil the pistol and showed it to Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, thus stirring up a debate in the House".

Dawn News reported that the security lapse "created a commotion in the house".

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by BOOM staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Updated On: 2021-10-17T12:46:04+05:30
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