Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) held the first-ever virtual jalsa in Pakistan amid a crackdown and unsaid ban on their on-ground jalsas.

Former Prime Minister and founding chairman of PTI Imran Khan addressed his supporters using an audio clip generated by artificial intelligence (AI) during the virtual jalsa.

The AI-generated audio, played alongside photographs and videos of Khan, garnered over 1.4 million views on YouTube and drew a live audience of tens of thousands on various social media platforms.


PTI social media lead, Jibran Ilyas, took to X (former Twitter) and wrote, “Founding Chairman Imran Khan’s speech in AI voice. Can’t stop praising Dr Asma for staying up 36 hours to get this done in time, Nausheen for translations and Intazar Bhai for getting notes from the Legend Imran Khan! #PTIVirtualJalsa.”

In his address, Khan lamented the restrictions on public rallies imposed on his party, emphasizing the alleged abduction of party members and harassment of their families.

“Our party is not allowed to hold public rallies,” Khan stated, urging his supporters to actively participate in the upcoming general elections. “Our people are being kidnapped, and their families are being harassed.”

Officials from Khan’s party revealed that the AI-generated speech was derived from a written version approved by Khan himself while he remains incarcerated. PTI organized the virtual rally in response to Khan’s media blackout.

Murtaza Solangi, the information minister in Pakistan’s caretaker government tasked with overseeing the elections, did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comments.

Internet services faced serious disruptions on Sunday night as a large number of people complained about difficulties in accessing social media sites where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was holding a virtual election rally.

Users from different parts of the country reported slow internet speed all across the country, especially in Karachi, Lahore, Mir Pur Khas, and Rawalpindi.
Downdetector confirmed that website versions were down since around 7 pm in the evening.

Imran Khan, convicted and sentenced to three years on graft charges on Aug. 5, has been entangled in numerous court cases, some of which are conducted behind closed doors in prison.