Claim: Imran Khan misquoted President Ronald Reagan’s statement at the UN General Assembly session
Fact: Imran Khan misquoted President Ronald Reagan’s statement at the UN General Assembly session
Prime Minister Imran Khan misquoted United States President Ronald Reagan’s statement, while delivering his address to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25, 2021,
PM Khan claimed that in the 1980s, former US President Ronald Reagan compared the Afghan mujahideen fighting against Soviet forces to the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Focal person to Chief Minister Punjab, Azhar Mashwani, took to Twitter and shared the video clip where the former president can be heard comparing Afghan Mujahideen as “moral equals of founding fathers of USA”.
<this tweet was removed after this article was first published>
If you watch the video attentively, you will find a minor glitch. The video is 0:48 seconds long.
At 0:37-0:45 seconds, Reagan says: “They are our brothers, these freedom fighters, who we owe them our help. You know the truth about them, you know who they are fighting and why.”
However, from 0:45 seconds to 0:48 seconds, there is a slight change in the sound of the president. The pitch of the sound is a bit higher as compared to the entire video. The words spoken by the president during these seconds are, “They are the moral equal of our founding fathers.”
Actual quote of the former US President, “In making mention of freedom fighters, all of us are privileged to have in our midst tonight one of the brave commanders who lead the Afghan freedom fighters—Abdul Haq. Abdul Haq, we are with you.”
“They are our brothers, these freedom fighters, and we owe them our help. I’ve spoken recently of the freedom fighters of Nicaragua. You know the truth about them. You know who they’re fighting and why. They are the moral equal of our Founding Fathers and the brave men and women of the French Resistance,” said Reagan.
The anecdote that PM Khan shared about Ronald Reagan comparing the mujahideen to the Founding Fathers is a commonly made mistake and there is actually no truth to it. Reagan had actually compared Nicaraguan rebel fighters to the Founding Fathers, a comment which has since been wrongly connected to the mujahideen.
However, this is not the first time that the premier made this mistake. In 2019, PM Khan while speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York on Monday, September 23, claimed that in the 1980’s former Ronald Reagan compared the Afghan Mujahideen fighting against Soviet forces to the Founding Fathers of the United States.
Journalist Gharidah Farooqi raised this issue initially. She took to Twitter and said, “What an international embarrassment that too at the #UNGA forum this time. US Pres RonaldRegan NEVER compared ‘mujahideen’ to Founding Fathers. It’s a FAKE NEWS. PM Khan refers to a fake “news item” to launch a case at such a prestigious forum! Who wrote speech for PM Khan? Fire him.”