Imran Khan, behind bars, reaches out through AI whispers.

Key Points:

  • Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, delivers a speech from jail using AI technology.
  • The AI-voiced speech was part of a five-hour “virtual powershow” organised by Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
  • This innovative use of AI has raised concerns about internet censorship and the fairness of the upcoming election in Pakistan.

Imprisoned former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has used artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a speech to his supporters. Despite being locked up and his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), being barred from holding physical rallies ahead of the country’s upcoming elections, Khan has found a way to communicate with his base.

As part of a five-hour-long “virtual powershow” organised by PTI and streamed online, an AI voice delivering a four-minute speech penned by Khan was featured. Replicating the voice of the 71-year-old former cricket star and now political leader, the AI-voiced speech received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube in the first 12 hours.

However, the innovative use of AI technology was marred by limited internet speeds and access to social media platforms during the event. The perceived disruptions are believed to have been instigated by Pakistani authorities. This has further raised concerns about the fairness of the country’s upcoming election.

Accusations of election tampering, including the amendment of constituency borders in favour of Khan’s opponent and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, have been levelled by critics. Claims of media censorship, with mentions of Khan’s name or image being blacklisted in mainstream media, and the harassment and arrest of his supporters, have also surfaced.

Khan, the country’s most popular politician as of March 2023, was overthrown by the military in April 2022. He was later arrested and sentenced for illegally selling heads of state gifts. Although he was granted bail, he has been detained for allegedly leaking classified information, a charge he insists is politically motivated.