On Sunday evening, an image of the entrance of Bahira University, Karachi campus was uploaded on social media showing a sign that said: “Say No to LGBTQ+”.
The photo was widely shared and started a debate on the space for sexual politics on campus. At one end of the spectrum, people argued that it fell under the ambit of hate speech. Others lauded it for taking a stance on an issue antagonistic to their beliefs.
When Aaj News contacted those who had uploaded the image, they said that it was forwarded to them.
The image was first uploaded to a Facebook page here:
We asked the Bahria University Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Faiza Salahuddin (retired), about the image. She responded that it was a doctored image and no such signage was put up on campus.
We spoke to several students who said, however, for their part that the sign was put up on Sunday, December 4, for a conference on “Islamic dilemma”.
When this was shared with the PRO, she responded that the original image had been put up on the Bahria University page, but it was then doctored and disseminated.
Regarding the conference by the university’s Al-Nakhlah Society, the PRO referred Aaj News to the deputy director of marketing at the Karachi campus, Saqib Shibli. He has yet to respond to requests for comment. This story will be updated if and when he does. We contacted the media department with no luck. Our inquiries from the office of the director general, Vice Admiral Khawaja Ghazanfar Hussain (retd) met the same fate.
One student, who wished to remain unnamed, told us that they had seen the sign at the entrance. They shared a different image we have added below:
Several other students confirmed that the event took place and the sign was put up, with one student sharing screenshots of a conversation from a closed group of university students. Their identities have been concealed to ensure they are not censured.
The conversation says that the conference on “Islamic dilemma” discussed several issues, with a focus on LGBTQ+.
Aaj News compared the two photos: the one that Bahria University said was the original and the second which it claimed was doctored. We found they bear several differences
- The image on the Bahria University FB page was uploaded on Monday, December 5, while the image that the university claims was doctored was uploaded a day earlier.
- The signs and the images have a shadow consistent with the elements suggesting authenticity.
- Elements in the two pictures are not consistent: the image that BU claims to be the original has two individuals in the background while the image with the sign has one person; the red barriers are missing in one picture.
- There is a discernible difference in the angles at which the two images have been taken.
People we spoke to said that the image was original as the letters of the sign were attached to the base with hooks, which would require exceptional photoshopping skills to add on.
We decided that we would open this question up to our readers and ask digital sleuths or any Bahria University students to help us get closer to the truth:
Please leave a comment below or contact us at hussain.dada @ aaj.tv. We will keep your names confidential
- Is the image photoshopped?
- Did the sign go up on the Bahria University Karachi campus and for how long? Please share any proof