Snapshot of false report

No, a viral video does not show cheating in Pakistan's national election

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

A video showing what appears to be a polling officer allowing cheating during Pakistan’s national election has gone viral. However the video is an old one with no relevance to the vote, and authorities said it was a hoax.

Former cricket champion Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the most seats in the election, held on July 25. He is planning to form a coalition to govern.

But his rival parties alleged there was widespread vote cheating and that Khan had unfair support from the powerful military.

In the heated political atmosphere, the misleading video claiming to show vote cheating was widely shared with many people believing it supported the claims of rigging.

The video attracted 6,500 shares and nearly 150,000 views on one Facebook page in the first four days after it was uploaded there on election day.

The video also appeared in this online report with a headline that read: "Rigging by Woman Caught On Camera in Pakistan General Election 2018." The video was shared by a Facebook page with more than four million followers.

AFP did an online search and found the video has been used repeatedly over the years to claim there was ballot rigging in Pakistan, including elections in the city of Karachi in 2008.

The video below was uploaded to YouTube in 2009 with a caption that read. “Bogus voting rigging @NA-250 Karachi elections 2008.”

Below is the same video posted in 2008 about the Karachi elections that attracted more than 15,000 views.

Here is a thread on a Pakistan discussion board from 2015 warning about the re-emergence of the video to allege vote rigging.

Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan Babar Yaqoob also held a press conference on July 26, 2018, in which he said the video was not from the previous day. 

“A video is being shown (on social media) in which a woman is stamping several ballot papers. I became very concerned after seeing this video, but I was sure that it was not possible,” Yaqoob said.

"This is not from this election, but some previous election as the ballot paper shown in the video is different, also the stamp shown is different."