January 10, 2024
ISLAMABAD – The PTI on Tuesday clarified that an essay recently published by The Economist under former prime minister Imran Khan’s name was not “compiled through the use of artificial means”.
In the essay — which went viral on social media and drew objection from the caretaker government — Imran had expressed apprehensions that upcoming general elections may not take place at all.
Although the content and tone of the article were in line with Imran’s historical stance, several observers had doubts over whether the PTI founder had personally penned the piece. Sources within the party were hesitant to comment on how the writing may have been relayed to the publication from inside prison, but they had insisted that the words were indeed those of Imran.
Addressing these doubts in a talk with journalists at Adiala Jail yesterday, Imran said he had “verbally dictated” the article.
It was also reported that Imran said he did not write the essay himself, rather it was based on points he had dictated, which were put into words through the use of artificial intelligence.
When asked about the provenance of the article, sources close to Imran had told Dawn that it contained facts mentioned by the PTI founder at different points in time, adding that the article was merely a consolidation of facts already available on social media platforms.
The sources said that Imran had shared these details with some visitors who met him in prison, and they may have confided them to someone in the magazine, who consolidated these facts into the shape of an article.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter) today, the PTI rejected media reports on the content and “mode of publication” of the essay, saying that they “did not reflect the actual state of facts regarding the matter”.
“The said piece has been authored by the PTI Chairman-for-life, Imran Khan, vindictively incarcerated at Central Jail, Rawalpindi. In no way, this has been compiled through the use of artificial means including artificial intelligence,” a statement released by the party’s Central Media Department said.
“Sections of the local media including leading dailies are called upon to present the facts and are requested to carry this clarification in its true letter and spirit by publishing it at the same prominent place in their upcoming editions,” it added.
It must be noted that since the article was first published on Thursday, it has been reposted at least seven times from the publication’s official X account. The posts have over 25 million views.
‘Disaster and farce’
In his article for The Economist, while expressing fears that the election scheduled for February 8 may not take place at all, Imran had stated that even if they do, such polls would be a “disaster and a farce since PTI is being denied its basic right to campaign”.
“Whether elections happen or not, the manner in which I and my party have been targeted… has made one thing clear: the establishment — the army, security agencies and the civil bureaucracy — is not prepared to provide any playing field at all, let alone a level one, for PTI,” he said.
Imran also criticised the Pakistan Democratic Government’s performance, saying it “destroyed the economy, bringing about unprecedented inflation and a currency devaluation within 18 months”.
“Unfortunately, the establishment had decided I could not be allowed to return to power, so all means of removing me from the political landscape were used,” he said, recalling “two assassination attempts” and the abduction, incarceration or torture of party leaders, workers and social media activists.
“Some were compelled to join other, newly created political parties. Others were made to give false testimony against me under duress,” he said, yet claiming that despite all this, his party remained popular.
Imran also hit out at the courts, who in his words “seem to be losing credibility daily”, referring to the easy exoneration of PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif.
He alleged that it is his belief that Nawaz “has struck a deal with the establishment whereby it will support his acquittal and throw its weight behind him in the upcoming elections”.