By: Ishita Goel
February 9 2024
Social media posts claim that the video shows 'election fraud' during the recent polls in Pakistan. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)
The video dates back to June 2022 and shows CCTV footage that captured a presiding officer allegedly stealing ballot papers during a by-election.
What is the claim?
As Pakistan went to polls on February 8, a video went viral on social media, alleging that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), one of the prime contenders, had tampered with the polling process on election day and committed fraud. The video shows CCTV footage of a person allegedly stealing ballot papers from a room and passing them to another man outside a window.
One user shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) and wrote: "...Early in the morning in Karachi, election staff give ballot papers to the people of PPP through the windows. Will the Election Commission take notice?..." Archived versions of similar claims, many of which originally written in Urdu, and shared on X, can be viewed here, here, here, and here.
Screenshots of the viral social media posts. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the viral video is old and does not capture an incident from the recent elections.
What are the facts?
Through reverse image search, we found the video dates back to 2022.
Pakistani news channel Geo News had reported on the incident on June 16, 2022, stating that a presiding officer had been caught allegedly stealing ballot papers during the by-election for the National Assembly seat of Karachi's NA-240 constituency. The report published on Geo News' website also carried an X post shared by journalist Naimat Khan on X on June 16, 2022. In her post, Khan had shared the same video with the caption, "A worker of a political party can be seen stealing ballot papers in the by-election in Karachi (translated from Urdu)." Geo News' video segment on the incident also carried the same CCTV visuals.
The outlet reported that the incident took place at polling station number 87, the office of the presiding officer. However, the police confiscated the polling booth and took the presiding officer into custody.
Another Pakistani news channel, Samaa TV, had also posted the video on YouTube on June 16, 2022. Their video report mentioned that the CCTV visuals of the alleged theft of ballot papers had emerged from Karachi's NA-240 constituency during the by-election.
According to reports, elections were held to fill the vacant seat after the death of Muhammad Ali Khan, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQMP) member of National Assembly (MNA).
Dawn reported that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had summoned the accused presiding officer over his involvement in the incident. This report also corroborated that the incident was recorded during the by-poll for the NA-240 constituency in Karachi.
However, none of the news reports linked any party, including PPP, to the alleged theft.
2024 Pakistan elections
Vote counting began on February 9 after an election that witnessed the suspension of mobile phone services and unrest. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was not permitted to participate in the elections, has alleged that the declaration of poll results has been delayed, a sign of vote rigging. Meanwhile, Zafar Iqbal, special secretary at the Election Commission of Pakistan, blamed an internet issue for the delay.
An old video from 2022 of ballots allegedly being stolen during a by-election is being wrongly linked to the recent election. Therefore, we have marked the claim false.