By: Annet Preethi Furtado
February 12 2024
Screenshot of a claim that viral image shows Imran Khan voting in Adiala Jail for the 2024 general elections. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
While Khan did cast his vote during the recent elections from Adiala Jail via postal ballot, this photo was taken during the October 2018 by-polls.
What is the claim?
In the run-up to the general elections in Pakistan held on February 8, several false and misleading claims have flooded social media.
A day before the polls, a photo of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan standing next to a ballot surfaced on social media and went viral. Several users claimed that the picture was of Khan casting his vote in the 2024 elections.
Khan, also the founder of the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has been incarcerated in Adiala Jail, a central prison in Rawalpindi, since August 2023 over corruption charges. He was disqualified from standing in the 2024 election and has since been convicted in several other cases.
On X (formerly Twitter), the viral image was shared with captions such as "IMRAN KHAN HAS CAST HIS VOTE IN ADIALA JAIL." One of these X posts (archived here) garnered over 96,000 views at the time of publishing.
Screenshot of the viral X posts. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the viral photo does not show Khan casting his vote in the 2024 general elections. The picture was taken during the by-polls held in October 2018.
What we found
Upon conducting a reverse image search, we found that several news reports from 2018 featured the same image.
On October 14, 2018, Arab News published a news report on the Pakistan elections titled "By-polls 2018: PTI, PML-N lock horns to bag maximum seats". The report carried the now-viral photo with the caption, "Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan casts his vote in NA-53 constituency during the ongoing by-elections, Sunday, October 14, 2018."
Arab NEws carried the image of Khan casting his vote during the by-elections held on October 14, 2018. (Source: Arab News/Screenshot)
By-elections in Pakistan were conducted on October 14 and 21, 2018. NA-53, also known as Rawalpindi-II, is a constituency for the National Assembly of Pakistan. The photo was credited to @AzharLaghariPTI.
Furthermore, Arab News reported that on October 14, 2018, polling took place for 11 National Assembly seats and 24 provincial assembly seats across Pakistan. It also mentioned that a total of 7,489 polling stations were set up, and more than 28,000 Pakistan army and Rangers troops were deployed to address any potential issues.
Similarly, a news story by Dawn Urdu on October 14, 2018, titled "By-elections: Polling on 35 National and Provincial Assembly seats," featured the same image with an Urdu caption translating to "Prime Minister Imran Khan casting his vote — Photo: APP."
The same day, Khan's official Facebook page also shared a cropped version of the same photo, with the caption, "Prime Minister Imran Khan cast his vote in NA-53 constituency earlier today."
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's official Facebook page also shared the image the same day.
Khan in Adiala Jail
Khan, currently in Adiala Jail, did not participate in the 2024 general elections through the traditional voting process. Instead, he exercised his voting rights via postal ballot, as reported by Pakistani news outlets.
Just days before the elections, Khan received three sentences: fourteen years for illegally selling state gifts, ten years for leaking state secrets, and seven years in a case regarding his marriage being deemed unIslamic.
Khan's wife, Bushra Bibi, was unable to cast her vote as she was convicted and arrested after the completion of the postal voting process.
Several political leaders, including former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, and former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, managed to vote by mail.
The image purportedly showing Imran Khan casting his vote in Adiala Jail is not from the 2024 general elections. Instead, it is an older image taken during the October 2018 by-polls in Pakistan. Therefore, we have marked the claim as misleading.