Social media users have ridiculed Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose portrait Google suggests in the search result for the keyword “bhikari”, which means “beggar” in the Urdu language. Netizens are sharing screen grabs with the Google Images tab, showing, among other things, a bearded man with a pot who resembles the head of the Pakistani government.
Type "Bhikhari भिखारी" in Google Search & Check Images.— 🇮🇳🚩आदर्श 🚩🇮🇳 (@adarsh_rai1) August 17, 2019
@PakPMO on searching google show imran khan as bhikhari. So shame— Raghav upadhyay (@Raghavu78538473) August 17, 2019
Some even referred to it as the joke of the century and said they just cannot control their laughter.
Today I can't control to laugh as when I googled as bhikhari it's showing your image 😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/YaSengnUlu— Raj Verma (@RajVerm08839957) August 17, 2019
Others used this opportunity to trash Khan and the state of the Pakistani economy.
imran khan ,international bhikhari😎...dont show him money, he can beg for it pic.twitter.com/a4irEVxTwP— Vikash Kamde (@kamdevikash) August 17, 2019
See the reality of Pakistan. Bhikhari is synonymous for it pic.twitter.com/2ZppU54Qtd— Kash_1857 (@kash_1857) August 17, 2019
One of them even linked the results to the fact that Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, is Indian.
The gaffe comes amid an escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir region. Both countries have been claiming the territory, the southern part of which lies in India's Jammu and Kashmir state, since the end of British rule in 1947. Despite a ceasefire having been reached in 2003 following several armed conflicts, instability has continued, leading to the emergence of various extremist groups. Tensions spiked earlier this year when the Indian military conducted airstrikes in the region in response to an attack orchestrated by a terrorist group based on the Pakistani side of Kashmir.
On 5 August, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind signed a decree removing Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which had granted Jammu and Kashmir special status. Under the Indian government’s new initiative, Jammu and Kashmir will be divided into two territories. The move prompted protests from Islamabad and reportedly resulted in violent clashes along the Indian-Pakistani Line of Control, which led Pakistan to downgrade its diplomatic relations and suspend trade with India.