Elections in Pakistan are using deepfakes as a political tool

Image taken from Google.com

Elections in Pakistan are using deepfakes as a political tool

Pakistan's national elections are the most recent example of deepfake material being used as a weapon by political parties to prevent their rivals' voting base from exercising their right to vote by distributing false information and causing confusion.

The AI-generated voice of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was heard in a video that went viral just one day before the January 8 legislative elections, announcing, "Dear Pakistanis‧. We have given up on justice and have chosen to boycott this election due to the unwarranted persecution of our party and ECI's cooperation with the ruling coalition.

More of these audio and video clips then appeared on Facebook, WhatsApp, and X (previously Twitter). Another deepfake video featuring Khan's legal advisor Nadeem Haider Panjutha was produced with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) generating technologies. It encourages viewers to support the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by abstaining from voting in polling places.

Similar to this, a deepfake video purporting to show Muhammad Basharat Raja, a former minister and leader of the PTI, had decided to withdraw from consideration for National Assembly section 55 in Rawalpindi, which is home to the Pakistan Army's headquarters, was also shared. Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is said to have reposted Raja's deepfake video.

several of these clips were so convincing that they were picked up by several media outlets, who then used them to spread misinformation to millions of people. Screenshots of these media reports were also circulated to support these fraudulent allegations.

The misunderstanding was so great that Gauhar Khan, the head of the PTI, had to take a break from his hectic election agenda to go on television and dispel the lies. "The nefarious designs are exposed by the manner the deepfake video of Basharat Raja has been shared and by the way Khan's fake audio has been distributed to mainstream media channels as leaked content. In a film shared on the party's official X Twitter, Khan declared to a news outlet that there would be no boycott of the election.

Workers for the Pakistan Turkistan (PTI) have accused the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which leads the government coalition, of deploying deepfake audio and video to confuse party members and sway election outcomes.

During the campaign, Imran Khan's speeches—who is currently detained in a supposedly "fabricated case," according to PTI officials—were produced using deepfake technology and shown at virtual rallies. The party has used generative AI to support their claims that Khan was sentenced to prison after a fair trial and to present him as a fighter, superhero, and the rescuer of Pakistan.

PTI employees created speeches for Imran Khan, who is incarcerated on a "fabricated case," according to their party, using deepfake technology during the campaign to be played at online gatherings. The party has portrayed Khan as a fighter, superhero, and Pakistan's savior by using generative AI, and they have also used this to support their narrative that Khan was sentenced to prison after a fair trial.