PML-N is not boycotting 2024 general election
Accounts making claim not associated with PML-N
Claim: The PML-N has announced its decision to boycott the 2024 general elections being held on 8 February in Pakistan.
Fact: The PML-N has made no such announcement; the accounts making the claim are fake and not associated with the party.
On 8 February 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user @Hasnain8082 posted (archive) a screenshot of an X post allegedly made by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif that states:
“پاکستان مسلم لیگ ن لیول پلینگ فیلڈ نہ ملنے پر الیکشن 2024 سے بائیکاٹ کا اعلان کرتی ہے، لاڈلے کو ابھی تک وہی سہولت کاری دی جا رہی ہے، پاکستان مسلم لیگ ن اور استحکام پارٹی کا کیا ہوا معاہدہ بھی ختم کر دیا گیا۔
[Pakistan Muslim League-N announces a boycott of elections from 2024 due to not getting a level playing field; the darling is still being given the same services; the agreement between Pakistan Muslim League-N and the Istehkam Party has also been terminated.]”
Read more: PTI is not boycotting 2024 general election
The Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), or the Stability of Pakistan Party, was founded by Jahangir Khan Tareen, a former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and ex-confidant of former prime minister Imran Khan.
Ahead of the 2024 general elections in Pakistan, slated for 8 February, Soch Fact Check has observed an influx of false and misleading claims that may impact public opinion and voter behaviour.
2024 general elections
The pre-poll political landscape in Pakistan is characterised by distinct circumstances for former prime minister and founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Supremo Nawaz Sharif, amid the shadow of alleged military interference.
“Concerns are mounting among analysts and sections of the political class that the coming vote might rank near the top of the list of most manipulated votes even in the country’s chequered democratic journey”, Al Jazeera wrote recently. It added, “Critics point to the crackdown by state authorities against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its charismatic leader, Imran Khan, as evidence of widespread rigging that could deny the former prime minister and his party a shot at a fair contest.”
On 30 January 2024, Khan was sentenced (archive) to 10 years in prison for “leaking state secrets”, a case in which he was accused of making public a “cipher,” or classified cable, sent by Pakistan’s ambassador to the US last year that he claims (archive) “was proof of a conspiracy by the Pakistani military and US government to topple his government in 2022 after he visited Moscow just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
A day later, on 31 January 2024, the PTI founder and his wife, Bushra Khan, popularly known as Bushra Bibi, were sentenced (archive) to 14 years each for “illegally selling state gifts” in a decision that came just days ahead of the 2024 general elections.
The former PM has been incarcerated since 5 August 2023 and disqualified from contesting elections.
On the other hand, Sharif — who has held the prime minister’s post thrice to date — returned (archive) to Pakistan in October 2023 after staying in London for years. He had left for the UK in 2019 on medical grounds (archive) after being handed a seven-year jail sentence over corruption charges (archive).
The roles of Sharif and Khan have been reversed (archive) as the former was unable to participate in the 2018 elections due to imprisonment; six years later, however, he is now positioned for a potential fourth term as the prime minister after being cleared (archive) of all charges and a lifetime ban on convicted politicians for running for office ruled unconstitutional.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check found that Maryam Nawaz Sharif did not post any such text on her X account. We also performed an advanced keyword search, which did not yield any relevant results.
Further, the X handle in the screenshot has an ‘m’ in small cases, whereas Maryam Nawaz’s official account has a capital ‘M’.
Other accounts, such as this (archive) and this (archive) one, posted screenshots from bulletins of Geo News and SAMAA News, but we did not find any evidence to suggest that the two media outlets actually ran such a news report or ticker.
A keyword Google search using the exact text in the screenshots, as well as the captions, also did not return any results except other false posts on social media.
We also found that X account @PMLNOFFIICIAL also made the same claim here (archive). However, this is false since the PML-N’s official X handle is @pmln_org, which was created in February 2012 and has over 2.5 million followers.
“پاکستان مسلم لیگ کا سکرین شاٹ میں موجود ہینڈل ہیک ہوچکا ہے ،پاکستان مسلم لیگ ن سائبر ونگ اس کی جلد از ریکوری کی کوشش کررہا ہے ، پارٹی قائد نواز شریف کے الیکشن کے بائیکاٹ کا پریس کانفرنس کے بعد کسی اور افواہ پر یقین نہ کرے ۔پارٹی پالیسی پر عملدرآمد کر کے الیکشن کا بھر پور بائیکاٹ کرے۔۔
[The handle of Pakistan Muslim League as seen in the screenshot has been hacked, the Pakistan Muslim League-N’s cyber wing is trying to recover it as soon as possible. Don’t believe any other rumours after the party leader Nawaz Sharif’s press conference about the election boycott. Implement the party policy and ensure a full boycott of the election.]”
The claim that an agreement between the PML-N and the IPP has also been terminated is also false; Soch Fact Check has investigated and debunked it here.
Soch Fact Check found that the X posts by @Hasnain8082, @Minhakhan_, and @ObaidKayani99 have received more than 200, 26,900, and 50,800 views as of writing time.
Conclusion: The PML-N has made no such announcement; the accounts making the claim are fake and not associated with the party.
Background image in cover photo: pml.n.official
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