Imran Khan's The Economist article not AI creation, clarifies PTI

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PTI founder Imran Khan speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, March 17, 2023. — Reuters
PTI founder Imran Khan speaks with Reuters during an interview, in Lahore, March 17, 2023. — Reuters
  • Article in UK publication originally authored by Imran Khan: PTI.
  • "Local media should present facts in true letter and spirit".
  • Imran Khan takes full responsibility for The Economist column.


ISLAMABAD: As the opinion piece of the imprisoned former prime minister well in the debate, the Imran Khan-led party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — has issued a clarification that the most talked about article published by The Economist was not an artificial intelligence (AI) creation.

The former ruling party claimed that the said article in the UK publication was originally authored by Khan, without any “use of artificial means including artificial intelligence”.

An official statement was posted by the PTI on X, saying: “It is clarified that the news/reports carried by local media on the contents and mode of publication of an article by the PTI Chairman-for-life in a foreign publication The Economist does not reflect the actual state of facts regarding the matter.”

The statement also read, “The said piece has been authored by the PTI Chairman-for-life, Imran Khan, vindictively incarcerated at Central Jail, Rawalpindi. In no way, this has been compiled through the use of artificial means including artificial intelligence.”

The former ruling party, which rose to power after the 2018 general election, urged the local media to “present the facts and carry this clarification in its true letter and spirit by publishing it at same prominent place in their upcoming editions”.

‘I dictated the column’

Days after the jailed former premier's article in the UK publication caused a furore, Imran Khan shared that he had dictated the column, reported The News today.

“I take full responsibility for the article published in The Economist recently,” he said in an informal conversation with reporters in the courtroom at Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi.

When Geo News asked him whether he wrote that article, he replied in the affirmative and clarified that he had dictated it.

He also shared that “next week” his party will share his fresh “speech” on “social media”.

When the Geo News reporter asked whether that speech would be an audio or a video, Khan replied: “Today is an era of artificial intelligence.”

The Economist column

The ousted prime minister, who was removed from power via a no-confidence motion in April 2022, is currently incarcerated in the Adiala jail.

In the article Khan lamented the lack of a level-playing field for his party, alleging that the establishment is not ready to provide one, as the general election is scheduled to be held on February 8.

He added that the polls conducted in such circumstances would be "farce".

Khan has stuck to his cipher narrative in the piece, writing that "I believe that the American official’s message was to the effect of: pull the plug on Khan’s prime ministership through a vote of no confidence, or else”.

He adds that "within weeks our government was toppled" and he discovered that former COAS Gen Bajwa had "been working on our allies and parliamentary backbenchers for several months to move against us."

Ever since its publication, the federal and Punjab governments claim it was a "ghost article".

While Punjab’s jail authorities are investigating the matter, the real question is: do Pakistan’s prison rules allow an inmate to write a letter or article to any publication (national or international)? Can a prisoner be actively involved in politics while in prison? What do the Pakistan Prison Rules 1978 say about the rights of prisoners, their involvement in politics, or if they can write to or for a foreign publication?

Talking to The News, caretaker Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said that Adiala Jail comes under the Punjab government’s jurisdiction, and as such the provincial government must be investigating this matter.

Saying that he believes this was a “ghost article”, the caretaker minister added, “The federal government will approach The Economist and write [to] them that if Imran Khan sends an article/letter following due process and the jail manual then it is publishable. But according to my information, he hasn’t written any such article, and the foreign publication has misled its readers. We are working on it and will soon write a letter to The Economist.”