LHC urged to lift ban on Aurat March

LAHORE (Agencies): Expressing commitment to support gender equality in Pakistan on Saturday, recently elected female Secretary Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Sabhat Rizvi sought Lahore High Court directives in lifting the ban on the upcoming Aurat March.

Earlier during the course of day, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Lahore, Rafia Haider refused to grant permission to organise upcoming Aurat March in the provincial capital under the security reasons, alleged public ‘reservation’ and fear of a clash with the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) who have ‘announced a program against the Aurat March’.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has strongly condemned the Lahore district administration’s decision. Whereas Amnesty International South Asia also condemned the decision terming rejection of the permission is an “unlawful and unnecessary restriction”.

The Aurat March is an annual event held in Pakistan on International Women’s Day, March 8, to raise awareness about issues affecting women and to demand gender equality, however, the Aurat March has been surrounded by controversy since its inception in 2018.

This March has been criticized by some conservative segments of society who view it as being against Pakistani culture and values. Some have also taken issue with the slogans and placards carried by the marchers, which they view as being vulgar and offensive.

The decision to ban the Aurat March in Lahore has sparked controversy and debate, with many arguing that it is an attempt to suppress women’s voices and prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights.

Secretary LHCBA termed the ban on a peaceful march as a violation of the Constitution saying the principal law of the country guarantees the right to freedom of expression and assembly. She emphasized the importance of protecting women’s rights and creating a safe space for them to speak up about their experiences and demands.

The petitioner prayed the court to issue directives to the DC to lift the ban in the matter till final adjudication of the petition in hand. Meanwhile, JI Amir Siraj-ul-Haq announced that his party would organize programs throughout the country on March 8. He said that the biggest event in this regard will be held in Islamabad.