By: Ankita Kulkarni
February 3 2023
A video of a blast that took place in a factory in Lahore in 2021 has been falsely linked to the January 30 suicide bombing in Peshawar.
On January 30, a suicide bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar in Pakistan killed at least 100 people and injured 157 others. The blast targeted police officers and occurred during the afternoon prayers in a mosque especially built for police officers and their families. Following the tragic incident, several videos surfaced online claiming to show the blast at the mosque. One such 15-second video shared by Twitter account @Eagle__View on January 31 shows a loud explosion forcing people in its vicinity to run for their lives. The video shows the blast occurring across a huge bridge running across a road in some residential area. The post caption read: "It's horrible, look at the fire of today's blast. #Peshawarblast #Peshawar #Peshawarunderattack #PeshawarAttack." The post has garnered over 28 thousand views so far.
A reverse image search of a screenshot taken from the viral clip led us to a video posted by channel ‘Disaster Compilation’ on YouTube. The video, which is more than two minutes long, dates back to October 21, 2021, and shows the exact same visuals seen in the viral clip in the beginning. The video title read: "Boiler Explosion Hits Lahore, Pakistan - Oct. 21, 2021." The description box noted that at least two people died after a boiler at a beverage factory exploded in Lahore's Multan Road. A link to a news report by Lahore-based news outlet The Nation was included in the description. The report shared a collage of three photos of the blast that matched the visuals in the viral video. The report was also published on October 21, 2021, and mentioned the same details shared in the YouTube description.
A report on the blast published by the local news outlet Daily Times on October 21, 2021, also included a photograph showing the bridge and the explosion captured in the viral video. The report was headlined: "Factory boiler explosion in Lahore kills two." According to the report, a passerby and a factory employee died in the blast. English Pakistani newspaper Dawn also reported on the incident. The Dawn report said many nearby buildings, houses, and offices developed cracks after the explosion. It also added that the factory was handed over to the police for further investigation.
We also compared the viral clip with the original visuals of the mosque blast. A video report published by Hindustan Times on YouTube capturing the aftermath of the attack on January 30, 2023, shows damaged buildings in a compact space. The viral video shows a very different setting from this and other visuals captured by almost all credible news outlets reporting on the mosque attack. None of the video reports by reputed media outlets showed the presence of a bridge or a flyover in and around the mosque, making it clear that the viral video is not related to the recent bombing.
An unrelated video of a boiler explosion at a beverage company factory in 2021 in Lahore, Pakistan, has been shared as footage of a blast that occurred in a Peshawar mosque on January 30. Therefore, we mark this claim false.