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Imran Khan’s AI and Covert Canvassing Strategic Campaign from Behind Bars

In the Welled eastern city of Lahore, Komal Asghar guided a group of ladies wearing costumes similar to hers: mask and headscarf. She did it through alleys a few days before Pakistan’s election on February 8.

While knocking on doors, they delivered campaign brochures with pictures of the imprisoned former prime minister, Imran Khan.

Asghar is a 25-year-old young worker at an insurance company. She quit her day job to campaign for a month for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Since August, Khan has been jailed. Many PTI candidates are in prison or evading capture because of allegations of terrorism and criminal activity that they claim are driven by politics. A Reuters reporter observed one of the numerous protests that PTI supporters claim have been troubled.

Pti Images – Browse 192 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video ...

Asghar declared, I’m with Khan. I don’t care about my life. Asghar said, My God is with me, allowing the former premier’s opponents to do whatever they can.

Asghar claimed that because not all women often wore facial and hair coverings, it was easier for them to question without drawing unnecessary attention. According to her, the public sees women as non-threatening, which reduces the possibility that their activism may spark conflict.

In interviews with fifteen candidates and supporters of PTI, political analysts, and IT specialists, they revealed that the PTI uses generative AI technology in addition to its two-pronged campaign strategy of secret campaigning, which female teacher volunteers frequently spearhead.

The party has produced a video featuring its founder, Khan, reciting remarks he gave to lawyers from his prison cell and pleading with followers to vote on election day, thanks to the application of generative artificial intelligence. Several hundred thousand people have watched its online rallies on social media at a time, according to data from YouTube.

Many Pakistani leaders have been imprisoned during a campaign in the past as well. Khan was not the first banned from holding political office by a court last year. However, PTI’s ability to use cutting-edge technology and the former cricket player’s widespread appeal has kept him in the news.

SINGLE-MAN Army?

On January 30, Khan was found guilty of disclosing national secrets and sentenced to ten years. Then, on Wednesday, he was sentenced to 14 years for the unlawful sale of gifts from the state. He received a seven-year term on Saturday for getting married against the law. His lawyers said they want to file an appeal, and he denies all accusations.

The 71-year-old won the most recent election in 2018. But Khan was dismissed from his position of PM in 2022 because of a disagreement with the strong military of the nation, which the PTI has accused of attempting to drive it out of office.

Pakistan: Imran Khan could outplay the military and return to power | Middle East Eye

The military denies the accusations, and interim Information Minister Murtaza Solangi told Reuters that PTI’s campaigning was only halted because it had the necessary permits or supporters engaged in physical disputes with law enforcement.

The police chief in Punjab, the most populated province in Pakistan, Usman Anwar, stated that his first duty was to ensure public safety, adding, “We have not and will not interfere in any political procedure.”

As he was in power, Khan was accused by opposition politicians and rights groups of deteriorating democratic standards by suppressing the media and using the same anti-graft judiciary that condemned him on Wednesday to target his opponents.

Khan and PTI have believed the accusations are baseless.

Although no trustworthy polling is available to the public, PTI employees and independent analysts like Madiha Afzal of the American Think Tank Brookings Institution say Khan continues to have substantial support, particularly among the country’s youth.

However, limitations would probably make it more difficult for PTI to compete against opponents like the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by the front-runner, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to Afzal. Late last year, Sharif returned from banishment, and the Supreme Court has since reversed his lifelong ban from politics and corruption convictions.

A PML-N representative still needs to respond to a query for comment.

Although the PTI is popular, Afzal stated that despite its popularity, the PTI faces significant structural obstacles in this election, which makes it likely that the party will lose. However, because of Khan’s passionate supporters, it was early to write the party out.

If the PTI wins on February 8, it has yet to announce who it will nominate as prime minister.

Visual Campaign

PTI’s social media lead in the United States, Jibran Ilyas, is based abroad like the party’s other digital leaders. He stated that the party’s regulations have forced it to concentrate on digital campaigning.

Even though internet availability is inconsistent and only approximately 50% of Pakistan’s 240 million people own cell phones, PTI intends to reach enough youth to influence the election. Over two-thirds of voters are under 45, and the voting age is 18.

They are reminding voters that the PTI is still Khan’s party. Even if they may have supported it because of its well-known founder, it is essential to this tactic.

Ilyas said that we wanted to find a way to introduce Imran Khan to the public when we were organizing the online event because we had never held a political rally without him.

From Jalsas to Hashtags - Synergyzer

His team produced three videos of the former PM Khan giving talks using generative AI technologies from American startup ElevenLabs. During visits to the jail, Khan’s lawyers forwarded messages from PTI to its founder, and the party recorded the talks on his notes.

“We debated the misuse potential and decided to stick with audio AI only,” Ilyas stated.

ElevenLabs replied to a request for comment later.

Additionally, PTI developed an app that lets users locate the party’s candidate in their area on Facebook and WhatsApp. Since PTI did not organize an internal leadership election, the electoral commission recently stopped the party from using its cricket bat electoral symbol, which helped PTI become well-known to voters. As a result of the ruling, the PTI candidates are not officially affiliated with any party.

PTI has organised internet gatherings replicate jalsas. Jalsas are the large-scale protests happen throughout the country in parks and at busy junctions in urdu.

But it’s been difficult for voters to get to the rallies. Since Khan’s initial detention in May, the Netblocks global internet monitor discovered six social media platform outages, including YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, during PTI virtual jalsas.

According to Solangi, the minister of information, technological issues unconnected to PTI’s campaign caused the nationwide outages. Requests for comments were not answered by Pakistan’s telecommunications administration or IT ministry.

Presence of Police

Election workers are essential to raising turnout in Pakistan, where voters live in huge deserts, busy port cities, and some of the world’s highest mountain ranges. Even with PTI’s internet presence, this is accurate.

While political posters and banners for parties like the PML-N are frequently seen nationwide, Reuters reporters in Karachi and Lahore, home to over 30 million people, saw remarkably few PTI banners.

PTI organizer Naveed Gul, headquartered in Lahore, claimed that law enforcement frequently removed posters from public view soon after they were placed up. A charge Punjab Police Chief Anwar refused the accusation as “malicious.”

Independent verification of removing PTI party content was impossible for Reuters.

On January 28, when PTI announced plans to organize statewide protests on a chilly Sunday morning, the intensifying crackdown came to a head.

Yet there was a bloody altercation between police and Khan’s supporters in Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. Television footage showed tear gas rounds fired by law enforcement. In the three days following the fights, 72 arrests were made, according to a police spokesperson.

Hundreds of PTI members and supporters called outside the residence of Salman Akram Raja, Khan’s lead attorney and a PTI legislative candidate, in Lahore. Reuters reporters observed him being greeted by a sizable police detachment as he left his residence.

When Raja refused to call off the rally, he was threatened with imprisonment. Reuters reporters overheard a police officer informing him they had “orders from high-ups.”

When asked about the event, Anwar, the head of police, replied that if a formal complaint were filed, he would launch an investigation.

Following discussions with his advisors, Raja instructed his supporters to disperse quietly. He told Reuters that it was necessary to be released from custody and allowed to participate in some limited campaigning in the final days before the election.

He said that most of our candidates are afraid to get imprisoned to run for a campaign because they believe every day of the campaign is a war.

 

 

 

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at AI Surge is a dedicated team of experts led by Paul Robins, boasting a combined experience of over 7 years in Computer Science, AI, emerging technologies, and online publishing. Our commitment is to bring you authoritative insights into the forefront of artificial intelligence.
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