LONDON/PORT VILA/PARIS (The Thursday Times) — In a detailed investigation carried out by The Thursday Times, a purported passport leak linked to Ms Farhat Shahzadi, who also goes by the alias of Farah Gogi, is ostensibly a fabricated—or Photoshopped—document.
Ms Shahzadi, a close associate of the incarcerated former Prime Minister of Pakistan and current PTI leader, Imran Khan, and his wife, the former first lady Bushra Bibi has attracted significant attention on social media yet again due to a purported passport leak. According to surfaced documents, Shahzadi appears to have obtained citizenship in Vanuatu, a small Oceanic archipelago located about 2,000 kilometers from the coast of northern Australia.
Citizenship-by-investment programs are a well-known avenue to disguising international travel among the global elite, and this is no different for some of Pakistan’s wealthiest individuals. However, The Thursday Times‘ investigation into the alleged passport in circulation has uncovered several discrepancies present within this document which cast doubt on its authenticity. The most notable discrepancy concerns the ‘place of birth’ listed on Ms Shahzadi’s passport.
International standards for passport issuance are quite stringent, particularly regarding the identification of a person’s place of birth. Typically, passports acquired by naturalisation or citizenship by investment list both the city and country of birth to provide a clear and unambiguous understanding of the individual’s origin. This practice is crucial because numerous cities worldwide share the same name but are located in different countries. For example, the city name ‘Lahore’ exists not only in Pakistan but also in other countries, including India and potentially smaller, lesser-known locations in the United States.
The same can be said for an individual born in Dublin, Ireland, but who has acquired the citizenship of Vanuatu. Without blatantly stating that the individual was born in Ireland, it is impossible to distinguish between the city Dublin, Ireland or the city of Dublin, Ohio, in the United States, or the village of Dublin in Belarus. Without the specific country designation, the birthplace becomes vague and potentially misleading.
This detail assumes even greater importance in the context of passports issued by members of international groups like the Francophonie or the Commonwealth of Nations. Vanuatu, the country allegedly issuing Shahzadi’s passport, is a member of both these organisations. These groups are known to adhere to rigorous international legislation and standards that mandate the clear and precise identification of the passport holder’s birth country. This is to ensure the integrity of travel documents and to facilitate international travel and security procedures.
The absence of a country name next to the city of birth in the leaked passport thus not only deviates from these accepted international practices but also casts doubt on the document’s authenticity. Such an anomaly is not typically overlooked in official government-issued travel documents, especially by countries that are part of globally recognised organisations with strict documentation standards. This irregularity, therefore, significantly undermines the credibility of the passport in question and forms a key basis for The Thursday Times‘ conclusion that the passport is alleged to be a hoax.
It should be noted that Shahzadi is currently rogue and wanted for police questioning, with her last-known location ascertained to be Italy. She is alleged to have been complicit in harbouring wealth for the current PTI supremo, who is currently jailed on corruption charges, and his wife.
Despite the sensational claims made by various media outlets, The Thursday Times concludes that the passport in question circulating on social media is ostensibly a fabricated document.