35 C
Sunday, May 28, 2023
Generic filters
EditorialAurat March and its controversies

Aurat March and its controversies

It’s that time of the month when women pour out on the streets, demanding their rightful place in society, and calling out those who abuse and deny their genuine rights. International Women’s Day on March 8 is a celebration of women’s rights, but at the same time, it’s a time when a deep divide that exists in our society becomes more evident. The two mindsets that prevail go out against each other more viciously. Every year, we see a collision between the liberals and the conservatives on every available platform. We see debates in the media, we read venomous comments on social media, and we witness rallies on the streets.

In the past, there were wall chalkings and counter wall chalkings, rallies were obstructed, and even security situations were created. And, like last year, this year too the event was marred by controversy, which started with Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rafia Haider rejecting the no-objection plea of the Aurat March organisers to hold a rally at Nasser Bagh, Lahore, citing security concerns. Besides, the DC also expressed concerns over the objectionable slogans and controversial placards that were displayed during the event, which the general public and religious organisations strongly objected to.

One of the main opponents of the Aurat March is Jamaat-i-Islami, which has been holding its march called the ‘Haya March’ on the occasion. This decision stirred up a storm, with the organisers approaching the Lahore High Court, terming the order of the deputy commissioner “arbitrary, discriminatory, and ultra vires” of various constitutional articles. Various civil society, political parties and rights organisations also condemned the DC’s decision. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) came down hard on the Lahore district administration for refusing permission to the Aurat March organisers to hold a rally on International Women’s Day.

It also demanded the caretaker Punjab government see to it that the participants of the rally were granted the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The provincial interim setup, while reacting to the severe criticism of the district administration’s refusal to grant permission to the rally, promised not to place obstacles for Aurat March protesters and address the reservations of the event’s organisers. Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir had said the government had also decided to provide security to Aurat March protesters, hoping that the march would be held peacefully.

Ever since the Aurat March began, the event has faced opposition from certain quarters. Under the law, peaceful assembly for one’s rights is permissible, and the Aurat March organisers should also not be stopped from taking out rallies. But it has to be seen why a section of society opposes them. The controversial slogans are indeed in bad taste and go against societal norms. Why make the event controversial? Why not jointly organise rallies for women’s rights? Why should there be a divide? Reservations of both groups should be addressed and a harmonious environment created.

Voice for women’s rights should be raised at all costs, but at the same time, the language we use should not violate the norms of the society we live in.

Subscribe Today





Get unlimited access to our EXCLUSIVE Content and our archive of subscriber stories.

Top News

More articles