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The government has not increased payments under the Ehsaas program

Social media posts share misleading information about increased cash disbursement in connection with Eid ul Fitr

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Claim: Social media posts claim that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, which was celebrated in Pakistan from 3-5 May 2022, the government increased the monthly cash disbursement payable to eligible families under the Ehsaas Kafalat program from PKR 14,000 to PKR 36,000.

Fact: The claim is false. The government has not issued an announcement relating to an increase in the value of the cash disbursements provided under the Ehsaas program.

The Ehsaas Kafalat program was launched by the PTI government in 2019, continuing and building on the Benazir Income Support Programme, which was launched in 2008 by the then-ruling PPP government. According to the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) official Twitter, newly elected Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced he will restore the program’s “original name”, the Benazir Income Support Program. The program aims to provide monthly stipends to impoverished women and families across the country.

Fact or Fiction?

On 27 April, Soch Fact Check received the link to a Facebook video shared by a page called Technical Sabir Ali. The video starts with Geo News’ headline logo and a clip of Geo News presenters. The video is accompanied by a voiceover, which features a number of claims, including that on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the government increased the cash disbursement payable to eligible families under the Ehsaas Kafalat program from PKR 14,000 to PKR 36,000.  It was also claimed that newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched a website for the collection of Eidi funds under the program.

However, the claims in the video are false. Soch Fact Check reached out to an Ehsaas Kafalat recipient from Lahore. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, she said she has not received an increased stipend under the Ehsaas program; in fact, she said, she has not received a stipend since Imran Khan’s ouster. She also noted that she had not received any funds from the government by way of Eidi.

Soch Fact Check can confirm that no Eidi fund website has been launched by the government. The link that pops up in the video when the fund is mentioned is to this website (crackall.net), which features information about downloading various kinds of software.

The official website of the Ehsaas Kafalat website also does not feature a link to an Eidi fund website.

The dubious nature of the video is also supported by the fact that a voiceover has been added to what is otherwise portrayed as a Geo News report. No reports regarding the news are available on the Geo News or Ehsaas program website.

Soch Fact Check reached out to the program’s Punjab Office, but the officials did not answer questions on the matter.

Virality

To investigate the virality of the video in question, Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis. The following key phrases were searched, covering a time period of 30 days from 10 April to 10 May 2022.

  • “Ehsaas Program New Update”
  • “Ehsaas Program 36000 New Update”

The results show that the first keyword garnered 6,085,308 interactions across 190 posts on Facebook.

The second keyword “Ehsaas Program 36000 New Update” garnered 177,500 interactions across 7 posts.

The video in question was shared here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

Conclusion: The Government of Pakistan has not increased the value of the monthly stipend provided under the Ehsaas Kafalat Program, nor did it set up a website to collect Eidi funds. The posts claiming otherwise are false.

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