Ahead of the elections, unprecedented repression has been carried out on PTI, the party of Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Sakib cricket star. Apart from Imran Khan, most of the party leaders have been jailed. The ‘bat’, the election symbol of PTI, has been taken away. But despite all the obstacles, setbacks and harassment, the most popular political party of Pakistan at the moment PTI did not leave the election field. Not only that, the party still believes that they have the ability to win next Thursday’s National Assembly elections.
Political parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League (PMR-A) and the Pakistan People’s Party have started campaigning for the election a few weeks ago. But PTI leaders are not getting a chance to campaign properly.
It is known that the candidates of Imran’s party are being harassed in various ways even though they participated in the election as ‘independent candidates’. Meetings are not allowed directly in the field. Not only that, candidates are also being disappeared and killed. Last January 31, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa PTI leader and parliamentary candidate Rihan Zeb Khan was shot dead.
In such a situation PTI leaders are using alternative and unconventional methods in election campaign. Imran Khan is unable to speak directly because he is in prison. He has come up with a strategy in this regard. The captain is writing the statement in the form of notes from the prison through lawyers. And from that note audio speech is being created using AI voice generation. PTI leaders are organizing digital meetings with that audio speech.
Imran Khan’s prison number ‘Prisoner Number 804’ is being used to organize meetings. Khan’s Facebook page also has a chatbot. Through which all the information and directions related to the election are reaching the leaders and activists and candidates of the election at the moment.
Meanwhile, PTI wants to overcome the repression and harassment of the authorities through social media and new candidates. According to a BBC report, there is an atmosphere of fear everywhere from the villages to the cities in the election mood. Amidst this panic, some are bravely campaigning.
The decision to take away the electoral symbol may seem ‘small’ but its impact in the elections of a country like Pakistan is huge. Because 58 percent of the country’s population is still illiterate. It is not possible for them to vote by reading the ballot paper. Pictures are the only hope. As the cricket bat is a very familiar symbol, it has been attacked.
PTI’s ‘independent’ candidates have been allotted alternative symbols instead of bats. Election posters have been printed with that symbol. That picture is also on the ballot paper. Some got swings, some got all the unfamiliar symbols like kettles and saxophones. Imran’s party PTI is fighting the elections with these symbols.