Aurat March held across country amid tight security
Marchers demand an end to violence against women, harassment at home and public places
Protesters push for holding those involved in violating women’s rights accountable for their deeds
ISLAMABAD: Amidst tight security and police battalions lining the route, Aurat March concluded with much fanfare in various cities across the country as the world observed International Women’s Day on Sunday.
The first Aurat March was held in 2018 in Karachi. Last year, it was extended to more cities, including Peshawar, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad. Aimed at expressing solidarity with women and to push for accountability and restorative justice against violence and harassment at home and in public spaces, this year the march was held across the country.
The Aurat March, as it has come to be known since its first iteration in 2018, was organised by Hum Aurtain, a feminist collective. It has a manifesto demanding basic rights for women in each field of life.
This year, the Aurat March’s manifesto revolves around khud-mukhtari (independence) of women.
Like other provinces, Khyber-Pakhtunkhuwa (K-P) also witnessed a multitude of participants demanding equal rights for women.
Women party workers of the Jamaat-e-Islami rallied in Peshawar while calling attention of the government to provide adequate and equal opportunities for women and to eliminate gender parity across the country.
Earlier, the K-P government had pledged to provide security to all those who stage a demonstration. However, the support was conditioned on whether any protest or march was held in line with the culture and other norms of the province.
The march started from the Lahore Press Club and passing through Egerton Road ended near Aiwan-e-Iqbal. Scores of women, children and men from all walks of life and across economic classes attended the march and stood by the demands which were outlined in its charter. Participants were in a jovial mood and held a plethora of eye-catching placards.
The Aurat March began at 03:00 PM in the federal capital.
Separately, female members of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) held a march outside the National Press Club. The participants reached China Chowk from the National Press Club where the party chief Sirajul Haq addressed the gathering. The participants of the JI march reached China Chowk from the National Press Club where JI chief Sirajul Haq addressed the gathering.
During his address, Siraj said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should not name any hopeful who as a male does not give his sister her inheritance rights.
“In the future, I will not give a party ticket to any man who doesn’t give his sister her rights,” he said.
In Karachi, advocates of women’s rights held the Aurat March outside Frere Hall. Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto leader Ghinwa Bhutto also arrived at the venue to participate in the march.
Spokesperson for the Sindh government Barrister Murtaza Wahab also participated in the Aurat March with his family. Walkthrough gates were installed at the venue and contingents of police had been posted to maintain security.
A march was also held by members of the Home Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) from Arts Council to Karachi Press Club. Participants of the march, led by HBWWF general secretary Zahra Akbar Khan, demanded financial autonomy for women as well as protection against workplace harassment and discrimination. A ‘Haya March’ was also held at Teen Talwar by the Pakistan Tahaffuz Movement.
The Women’s Alliance organised the Aurat March in Quetta on Sunday. A large number of women participated in the rally that began at the Quetta Press Club. Protesters demanded equal rights for the women in society during the rally and vowed to continue to fight against harassment and acid attacks.