Women’s march in Lahore as scheduled

Women’s march in Lahore as scheduled
Women’s march in Lahore as scheduled

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Women’s march in Lahore as scheduled and now with details

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - People hold signs and chant slogans as they take part in an Aurat March, or Women's March in Karachi on March 8, 2018. Image Credit: Reuters

Islamabad: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has turned down a petition seeking ban on a March 8 women’s rally in Lahore and told the petitioner it could not ban freedom of expression in the country.

The petition was filed by a local lawyer and chairman of Judicial Activism Council, Azhar Siddique, who questioned the very language and nature of the march saying “anti-state parties were funding its organisers and the purpose was to generate anarchy and unrest in the country”.

He also termed the proposed march “anti-Islam and against its great values”. The marchers have a hidden agenda to spread vulgarity and hatred, the petitioner had further claimed.

“During last year’s Aurat March, women were holding placards that had objectionable messages,” Siddique said.

However, LHC Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid shaikh dismissed all his claims saying a peaceful rally or a march could not be banned merely on the basis of allegations.

The judge also sought report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police with regard to providing adequate security during the rally.

A number of women’s rights organisations and pressure groups are set to hold ‘Aurat March’ in Lahore on the eve of International Women Day ie March 8, 2020.

During the hearing, the march organisers Advocate Hina Jilani and founder of Digital Rights Foundation, Nighat Dad, also gave arguments defending holding of the march.

“We are holding the Aurat March to highlight the importance of women in our society. The march will be held on a March 8 (Sunday) and will not hinder any economic activity,” Jilani told the court.

She pointed out that the march was also held last year and had remained peaceful.

“We understand this agenda,” the petitioner responded. “It is not our intention to stop the march, we want that the immoral representation of it is completely banned,” he further said.

However the court disagreeing with his point of view gave a go ahead to Hina Jilani and others to hold a peaceful rally on International Woman’s Day.

Later, Hina Jilani clarified the march was neither anti-state nor indecent. “Many different generations are participating in this rally, they express their wishes and aspirations on display, using their freedom of expression, be it through placards or slogans”.

She also objected to the language of the petition against the march, which stated the movement had a “hidden agenda” and aimed to spread “vulgarity and hatred”. She explained that it was an attempt to malign rights activists striving for social and legal rights of women and the trans-community in the country.

Last year on March 8, women across Pakistan came together to participate in the Aurat March 2019, however, the marcher faced a backlash from extremist voices and religious fanatics who termed it pro-Western and vulgar.

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