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PTI is not boycotting 2024 general election

Khan or his party did not make any such announcement

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Claim: An audio clip of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) founder, Imran Khan, suggests that he has announced a boycott of the 2024 general elections being held on 8 February in Pakistan.

Fact: The party’s official account on X denied the announcement of any such decision. The viral audio clip is likely AI-generated.

Elections 2024

Ahead of the general elections on 8 February 2024, Imran Khan’s PTI faces obstacles with multiple key leaders and supporters behind bars, defections, and the loss of its ‘cricket bat’ symbol, which has raised concerns about fair campaigning and a level playing field. Just a week before the election, Khan was given three additional sentences: 

In 2018, the PTI emerged as the single largest party in the parliament, forming governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Fact or Fiction?

On 7 February 2024, X (formerly Twitter) user Javed Iqbal (@javediqbalpk1) posted (archive) an audio clip claiming that PTI’s founder, Imran Khan has announced a boycott of the 8 February election.

His tweet reads as follows,

شکست کا شدید خوف، عمران نیازی نے انتخابات کے بائیکاٹ کا اعلان کردیا.

[Fearing defeat, Imran Niazi has announced a boycott of the elections]”

Khan can be heard saying in the clip in Urdu, which has been translated to English,

“My fellow Pakistanis: With the election date approaching, a crackdown on our party is underway. Our party’s symbol has been confiscated, and every day, our workers are being detained and arrested. PTI ticket holders, including women, are facing torture. Despite being in jail, I’m well-informed. The police and other institutions are complicit, and the Election Commission is compromised. With no hope for justice, we’ve decided to boycott the elections due to the current situation.”

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false. The PTI clarified, via an official tweet, that no such announcement has been made by the party. 

The party has warned its supporters to be wary of deceptive tactics employed in the days leading up to the election, and urged them to  focus on the election. According to the PTI, over the past three days, a wave of misinformation has been proliferated through various channels, including false claims regarding the retirement or transfer of party candidates, the circulation of posters featuring fake candidates, and the dissemination of fraudulent online advertisements and robocalls. 

As elections are currently underway in Pakistan, social media platforms are inundated with misinformation. This poses a significant concern, especially with the prevalence of deepfakes — manipulated video or audio content created to appear genuine with the use of artificial intelligence.

Although Soch Fact Check could not independently investigate the authenticity of the audio clip being linked to Khan, it’s important to note he is currently serving a sentence in Adiala Jail. The viral audio clip is likely AI-generated.

Tight security measures are in place at the Adiala Jail where strict regulations prevent people from photographing Khan or court proceedings. Since his arrest in August 2023, following his conviction in the Toshakhana case, no image or video of the PTI founder has been released to the media, except for a recent photo of him taken within the confines of the prison which is now circulating on social media. 

Lawyer Abuzar Salman Niazi, a part of the PTI’s legal team who has visited Khan in Adiala Jail, said that the aforementioned photo was taken four to five weeks ago.

Virality:

The clip was shared here, here and here on X.

The tweet by @javediqbalpk1 gained significant traction with 172,200 views, 624 likes and 574 reposts.

The claim can be found here, here, here, here and here on Facebook.

Conclusion: The PTI has not made an announcement to boycott elections on 8 February; the audio clip being linked to Khan is dubious.


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com 

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