LAHORE: A video filmed by a couple of television journalists at a printing press in Lahore — touted by the PTI as being ‘proof’ of post-poll rigging — created waves on social media, only to be debunked hours later.

The viral video, which was also shared by PTI founder Imran Khan’s official X account, appeared to show two journalists inspecting ballot papers labelled as being meant for NA-15 (Mansehra) — where PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had contested — at a printing press in Lahore.

But as the clip circulated on social media, questions began to be raised over why ballot papers would need to be printed so long after the elections. Others asked why Rai Saqib Kharal and Imran Arshad, the reporters seen in the video, had not uploaded or shared the footage themselves.

While this debate was raging, accounts from the two journalists and one of their editors seemed to indicate that the video’s authenticity was suspect. The men said that they had been led to the printing press by a source, who had demanded that the videos be released immediately.

However, senior journalist Nasrullah Malik, who had been approached by the duo to air the video, waded into the fray to say that he had posed several questions: questioning authenticity of the source; why the printing press was lying wide open for anybody to come in; and whether the news could be ‘planted’ and might give credence to a particular political party’s narrative against its rivals.

“I wanted a detailed investigation into the matter and not become part of any political party’s agenda. I did not want to run the half-cooked story,” he added.

Another journalist, Mansoor Ali Khan, claimed to have spoken to the duo and said that it was their ‘source’ who had leaked the videos after the two journalists said they wanted to do some digging into the claims.

The duo who filmed the video had claimed that the printing press was owned by a member of the PML-N – a claim that was repeated in the post shared by PTI founder Imran Khan’s official X account.

But seizing on the ‘propaganda value’ of the videos being shared, PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bokhari accused the journalists of being “PTI social media activists” and called for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe the matter.

At the time of going to press, the videos in question are still visible on Imran Khan’s official X account, and have also been shared by other prominent party activists, including Mr Khan’s focal person for social media, Azhar Mashwani.

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2024

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...