Islamabad HC dismisses plea seeking to stop Aurat March

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed a petition seeking to restrict the Aurat March, which is scheduled to take place on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8, as non-maintainable and not justiciable.

While dismissing the petition on Friday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said the right of assembly was a fundamental right but he stated that the court expects that the participants of the march will exercise their rights in accordance with the law, Dawn news reported.

The event is an opportunity for its participants to “prove those who doubt their intentions wrong”, the verdict said.

Justice Minallah said if anything against the law happened on March 8, legal action would be taken at the time, observing that the petitioners were seeking prior relief from the court.

Also this week, the Lahore High Court had also wrapped up a petition against the holding of Aurat March, reiterating its earlier remarks that the gathering could not be stopped under the Constitution and directing the Lahore district authorities to speed up their decision on an application seeking permission to hold the march.

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, Dawn news reported.

For the past two years, it has been organised to coincide with the International Women’s Day on March 8, which is also the scheduled date for the rally this year.

Last year, the holding of the rally led to a backlash against the organisers and participants for “violating Islamic principles” and “disrespecting women”.

Most critics had issues with the placards and banners used during the march, which they said transgressed Pakistan’s cultural values.

There were also reports of the organ­isers of the march receiving threats on social media.

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