Fact check: Fake website is providing incorrect information of PTI-backed candidates

Published January 25, 2024
This screengrab shows the front page of PTIcandidate.com.
This screengrab shows the front page of PTIcandidate.com.

PTI officials on Wednesday alleged that a fake web portal — mimicking one launched to provide information on party-backed independent candidates contesting the polls — had been created and was providing incorrect information to voters.

The claim is true since the candidate information provided by the website in question, pticandidate.com, was not corroborated by the official lists issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the party’s records.

According to fact-checking platform iVerify Pakistan, PTI activist Azhar Mashwani posted on social media platform X on Wednesday that the party’s official web portal for obtaining information on candidates was pticandidates.com.

“A couple of people are trying to spread misinformation by creating a website with a similar name,” he said, pointing out that the URL for the official portal had ‘candidates’ while the alleged fake had ‘candidate’.

PTI social media head Jibran Ilyas also reiterated the same. “Fake site has been created by some cheaters with wrong candidate information. The domain with ‘candidates’ is correct, fake one doesn’t have the ‘s’ in candidates,” he said.

It should be noted that the party on Tuesday had “relaunched” its web portal for voters wanting to get information on PTI-backed independent candidates.

“Write your national or provincial assembly constituency: The name of the candidate, his election symbol, and his WhatsApp channel will appear in front of you.”

However, the iVerify platform said that the websites provided by the party were not working as of 1:10pm on Thursday (today).

The platform next investigated the alleged fake portal to determine if the information provided was corroborated by the ECP’s official candidate lists issued on Sunday, the PTI’s official list of candidates contesting on National Assembly seats or information provided by messaging on party chief Imran Khan’s official Facebook account.

Searching for Karachi’s NA-241 constituency yielded Khurram Sher Zaman with the symbol of the ‘dhol’ on both the alleged web portal as well as Imran’s official Facebook account.

The same was corroborated by checking with the ECP’s official NA candidate list from Sindh.

However, further searches showed discrepancies between the information provided by the alleged fake website and that provided by Imran’s Facebook page, the ECP lists and the PTI’s official candidate list.

Searching for Lahore’s NA-119 constituency showed Nadeem Altaf Khan Sherwani with the electoral symbol ‘cricket stumps’ from the website in question. However, Imran’s official Facebook page showed Shahzad Farooq as the candidate for the constituency with the symbol ‘tricycle’.

The ECP list also showed Farooq as an independent candidate for NA-119 with the symbol ‘tricycle’.

Searching for Narowal’s NA-75 constituency showed Talha Anees with the symbol ‘charpai’ from the website. But Imran’s Facebook page showed Dr Tahir Ali Javed with the symbol ‘charpai’.

The ECP list also showed Javed as an independent candidate for NA-75 with the symbol ‘charpai’.

Searching for Mandi Bahauddin’s NA-68 constituency showed Haji Imtiaz with the symbol ‘cricket stumps’ from the website. Imran’s Facebook page showed Haji Imtiaz with the electoral symbol ‘aeroplane’.

The ECP list also showed Imtiaz as an independent candidate for NA-68 with the symbol ‘aeroplane’.

Searching for Gujranwala’s NA-81 constituency showed Bilal Ejaz with the symbol ‘keychain’ from the website. However, Imran’s Facebook page showed Bilal Ejaz with the symbol ‘plug’.

The ECP list also showed Ejaz as an independent candidate for NA-81 with the symbol ‘plug’.

Searching for Lahore’s NA-123 constituency showed Tazeem Azeem Pahat with the symbol ‘laptop’ from the website. Imran’s Facebook page showed Advocate Afzaal Azeem Pahat with the electoral symbol ‘radio’.

The ECP list showed both as independent candidates with the symbols ‘laptop’ and ‘radio’, respectively.

To resolve the conundrum, the team cross-checked the PTI’s official list of affiliated candidates for the NA which mentioned Afzaal as the candidate for NA-123.

Searching for Faisalabad’s NA-101 constituency showed Nadeem Aftab Sindhu with the symbol ‘radio’ from the website. Imran’s Facebook page showed Rana Atif with the symbol ‘bottle’.

The ECP list also showed Atif as an independent candidate for NA-101 with the symbol ‘bottle’.

The iVerify platform concluded that the examination of the above constituencies between all the various sources showcased that the PTI’s allegation about the web portal being fake holds ground and is true.

The information from the portal not only showed different candidates from those mentioned in the ECP and PTI lists, but also showed a repetition of election symbols.

With the official release of the candidate lists from the electoral watchdog, the website continued to provide incorrect and contradictory information.


This fact check has been published in partnership with iVerify Pakistan — a project of CEJ and UNDP

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