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Fact-check: Social media posts, politicians share incorrect claims about Pakistan’s transgender law

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A law that ensures fundamental rights for Pakistan’s transgender citizens has stirred up controversy, as religious groups argue that it legalises same-sex marriages and homosexuality in the country.

The claim is false.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by Pakistan’s parliament in 2018. The law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in schools, workplaces and public spaces, as well as ensures their right to vote, inherit property and run for public office.

Claim

This year, politicians from religious political parties, the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan (Fazl) kicked up a row, insisting that the law is against Islamic tenets and should be immediately amended.


A law that ensures fundamental rights for Pakistan’s transgender citizens has stirred up controversy, as religious groups argue that it legalises same-sex marriages and homosexuality in the country.

The claim is false.

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act was passed by Pakistan’s parliament in 2018. The law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in schools, workplaces and public spaces, as well as ensures their right to vote, inherit property and run for public office.

Claim

This year, politicians from religious political parties, the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan (Fazl) kicked up a row, insisting that the law is against Islamic tenets and should be immediately amended.

Posted on the official Facebook page of Jamaat-e-Islami on September 22.
Posted on the official Facebook page of Jamaat-e-Islami on September 22.

Separately, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has submitted a resolution in the Sindh Assembly against the implementation of the law. While the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing has held several study circles in colleges against the law, calling it a “dagger in the Islamic republic.”

On September 16, two hashtags also began trending on social media #Ammendtransgenderact and #Amendtransgenderact. Both hashtags have to date accumulated over 5,000 tweets and videos with several thousand views.

Social media users and conservative politicians accuse the law of permitting gender-reassignment surgeries, same-sex marriages and cross-dressing. They also claim that since 2018, when the law was passed, over 23,000 people changed their genders.

Posted on the official Facebook page of Jamaat-e-Islami on September 22.
Posted on the official Facebook page of Jamaat-e-Islami on September 22.

Fact

The claim that the law will allow men to change their gender to female and women to male on official documents is incorrect.

The law clearly defines a “transgender person” as one who is “intersex” with a mixture of male and female genital features or a eunuch assigned the male gender at birth but undergoes castration or a trans person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Rules to the Act further clarify that a transgender person will have to approach the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for a change of name or gender on identity documents, as per their self-perceived identity. And NADRA will only alter their gender from Female to the category “X” or Male to the category “X”.

“X” symbolises the third sex in Pakistan, a classification specially created for the trans community on the orders of the Supreme Court in 2009.

The law or the Rules do not allow men to change their gender to female or vice versa on their CNICs, passports or other travel documents.

Video posted against the Transgender Act on Twitter on September 21.
Video posted against the Transgender Act on Twitter on September 21.

The claim that the law permits same-sex marriages and gender-change surgeries is false.

There is no mention in the Act or the Rules of marriage or gender-affirming surgeries.

Several social media users further argue that since 2018, 23,000 people have changed their genders, as per their wishes. Geo Fact Check could find no data or evidence to support this claim.

Video posted against the Transgender Act on Twitter on September 21.
Video posted against the Transgender Act on Twitter on September 21.

In fact, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, who has been vocally opposing the law and insisting that it be amended, had asked the interior ministry in November 2021 for the total number of applications received by NADRA, for the issuance of gender-change certificates between July 2018 and June 2021.

To which, then interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed clarified that NADRA does not issue gender change certificates. “However, gender is modified [on official documents] due to medical reasons or on request of Transgender persons,” he added, as per documents seen by Geo Fact Check.

He further provided a breakdown of 28, 723 trans people whose gender had been changed by NADRA in the dates specified above. 

Response by the Interior Ministry to Senator Mushtaq Ahmed’s query.

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The year’s longest day and shortest night are both today.

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The nation is experiencing an increase in oppressive heat. The longest day and shortest night of the year are respectively observed on this Friday.

Summer solstice is the name given to this event.

Because of the tilt of the Earth, the Summer Solstice happens twice a year when one of the poles is at its greatest degree towards the sun.

While the winter solstice occurs in December in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs in June in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is the longest day of the year, June 21st.

The shortest night of the year, nevertheless, will occur today.

14 hours will pass during the day and 10 hours during the night, according to the report.

Beginning on July 1, the day will progressively get shorter as June draws to a close.

The event known as equinox occurs on September 22, when day and night have equal lengths.

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Authorities report that during the Hajj, 35 Pakistani pilgrims perished from the intense heat.

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Thirty-five Pakistani pilgrims have died, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Abdul Wahab Soomro, the DG of the Hajj Mission, claims that nine Pakistanis perished in Mashair, four in Mina, three in Arafat, and two in Muzdalifah.

According to the Hajj DG, six pilgrims from Pakistan died in Medina and twenty died in Makkah.

According to the DG, the extreme 50 degree Celsius heat was the reason for the deaths. According to him, there was no basis for the claim that the pilgrims were neglected.

According to him, the Saudi government was informed of the remains, and the funeral plans were set up in compliance with the families’ desires. According to Soomro, plans had also been made to transfer the bodies to Pakistan.

He claimed that in these kinds of situations, the Saudi and Pakistani governments have always worked together.

Over 1,000 people have died.

According to AFP, more over 1,000 people have died during this year’s Hajj. According to the report, over 50% of them were unregistered worshippers who underwent the sweltering Saudi Arabian journey.

An Arab ambassador gave a breakdown of the 658 Egyptians who died, indicating that 630 were unregistered pilgrims. Of the additional deaths announced on Thursday, 58 came from Egypt.

One of the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims who have the means to do so must at least once, the annual pilgrimage, has resulted in 1,081 deaths overall, according to reports from about ten different countries.

Official announcements or diplomats working on their countries’ responses have provided the data.

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Pakistan

As PM Shehbaz creates committees to address the PPP’s issues, a thaw is evident.

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In response to the issues brought up by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari during their meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has established committees.

The PPP heavyweights and PML-N leaders met after Bilawal did not attend the June 12 National Assembly session when the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024–25 was unveiled.

The PPP chief’s concerns were mostly addressed by the prime minister at the meeting, when he also ordered committees to look into his grievances.

Sources claim that on Friday, the committees would undertake discussions to settle the differences between the ruling parties.

Bilawal once voiced concern over the PPP’s lack of faith in the budget. He emphasised that the PML-N is not carrying out the arrangement that the PPP had made to support the government.

Additionally, he charged that the Punjabi government was erecting obstacles in the way of the PPP’s advancement in the region.

For the welfare of the people as well as the growth and prosperity of the nation, Prime Minister Shehbaz urged all political parties to cooperate.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Senate Chairman, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, and Sherry Rehman were among the PPP delegation members.

Speaking at the event, the premier stated that additional talks over the budget for 2024–2025 were held with the Pakistan Peoples Party. He claimed that although the stock market had seen an unprecedented boom, the economy was exhibiting encouraging signs.

He claimed that the new fiscal year’s budget included measures to help the average person. He promised that committees will continue to be used for further consultation.

Afterwards, the prime minister hosted a dinner reception in honour of the PPP delegation.

In attendance were Speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Ministers for Planning and Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb and Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar, Prime Minister’s Advisor on Political Affairs Rana Sanaullah, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Ali Pervez Malik, and former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique.

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