Imposter account for Pakistan diplomat shares fabricated tweet about Imran Khan's dismissal

·2 min read

After Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan accused the United States of conspiring to boot him from power, social media posts shared thousands of times appeared to show a tweet from Pakistan's former US ambassador declaring that Washington had "interfered" in Islamabad's internal affairs. However, the tweet was posted by an imposter account that has been suspended.

"I strongly stand by my words. The United States has interfered in our internal affairs," reads the tweet purportedly sent by top Pakistani diplomat Asad Majeed Khan, who was recently reassigned as Pakistan's ambassador to the European Union (EU) and Belgium.

"And it is also 100% true & clear that America did not like Imran Khan. #PakistanZindabad [long live Pakistan]".

A screenshot of the tweet -- posted from the handle @DrAsadMajeed -- was shared on April 23 on a Facebook page with more than 120,000 followers.

It was shared alongside a screenshot of a different tweet purportedly sent by Khan, claiming that his account was suspended following the post, and directing users to follow him on another Twitter account, @DrAsadMajeed1.

A screenshot of the false post, taken on April 25, 2022.

Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan was dramatically booted from power in a no-confidence vote in April 2022.

He accused the United States of orchestrating his removal, with local media reporting he had received a briefing letter from Asad Majeed Khan -- who was then Islamabad's ambassador to Washington -- recording a senior US official telling him they felt relations would be better if Khan left office. Washington denied the allegations.

The screenshot was shared more than 3,900 times -- including here, here, here, and here on Facebook; and on Twitter here, here, here, and here.

However, the tweet was not posted by Asad Majeed Khan's official account, which uses the handle @asadmk17. It features a blue verified badge from Twitter.

The accounts @DrAsadMajeed and @DrAsadMajeed1 have both been suspended by Twitter for violating the platform's rules, as shown in the screenshots below:

Asad Majeed Khan tweeted that @asadmk17 was his only Twitter account.

"Important for all to know that this is my only Twitter account - a verified one. Anything being tweeted from any other account in my name is fake," he wrote on April 23, 2022.

AFP did not find any official reports that the diplomat made public remarks about allegations of US interference in Imran Khan's removal.

AFP has debunked a wave of misinformation following Imran Khan's dismissal here, here, and here.

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