Pakistan: After HC’s permission, Aurat March held in Lahore

The controversy began on March 5 when the Lahore's deputy commissioner denied permission to hold Aurat March due to ‘security concerns’, ‘controversial’ placards, and banners promoting women’s rights.

Aurat March was held in Lahore and other parts of Pakistan following permission from the Lahore high court after ensuring no objectionable slogans or discriminatory placards will be used.

Aurat March Lahore posted a tweet on its official Twitter page announcing the march. “We will be marching tomorrow (March 8) from NADRA Office, Shimla Pahari, near press club to outside Faletti’s at 2 PM,” it tweeted.

In response to the Lahore high court’s decision, it also tweeted guidelines for placards and posters to be used in the march.

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The controversy began on March 5 when Lahore’s deputy commissioner Rafia Haider denied permission to hold Aurat March due to ‘security concerns’, ‘controversial’ placards, and banners promoting women’s rights.

In a statement, the deputy commissioner said, “Following the current security scenario, threat alerts, and law and order situation, and in light of activities like controversial cards and banners for awareness of women’s rights and the strong reservation of the general public and religious organizations, especially JI’s women’s and student wings, who had also announced a program against the Aurat March.”

His decision was condemned by members of civil society, political parties, and rights organisations.

“Women, khawaja sara community, transgender persons, gender non-conforming people, and allies of the Aurat March have the right to the assembly under Article 16 of the Constitution of Pakistan,” they said, adding the deputy commissioner was under pressure from the ‘Haya March’ organisers.

The matter went to the Lahore high court which questioned the city administration regarding their decision to reject the Aurat March plea. When the deputy commissioner replied that the police were engaged in maintaining the security arrangements for the upcoming Pakistan Super League being held in the Qaddafi Stadium, the judge retorted by saying the administration is responsible for the law and order of the city and further advised the Aurat March organisation to conduct it without objectionable remarks.

What is Aurat March

Aurat Azadi March is held annually in different cities of Pakistan such as Lahore, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Faisalabad, Multan, Quetta, Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar on the occasion of International Women’s Day to fight for women’s rights. The first Aurat March was held in Karachi in 2018, and subsequently in Lahore and Karachi the following year,

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