Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi has been accused of dabbling in dubious science after stating that trees pump out oxygen even when the sun isn’t out. The gaffe was immediately seized upon by quick-witted Twitter users.
As quoted by local media, while speaking about environmental issues on Tuesday, Khan declared that “trees produce oxygen when it is night,” immediately sparking ridicule on social media. To make matters worse, Khan had recently mocked a political rival, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, for making the obvious observation that flooding occurs from heavy rain.
According to Pakistani media, Khan hadn't meant to make the factual error, but instead had simply misspoken.
The prime minister received mocking praise for his scientific prowess, with some even bestowing upon him titles such as “professor” and “Einstein Khan”. One baffled Twitter user joked that there is “always something new to learn” from Khan.
Khan’s fresh take on photosynthesis isn’t the only oddball scientific claim to come from Islamabad. In May, Pakistan’s minister for science and technology was pilloried for claiming that it was Pakistani space agency SUPARCO, not NASA, that launched the iconic Hubble telescope.