Activists Tense Ahead Of 'Aurat March' In Lahore On Women's Day

by GoNews Desk 1 year ago Views 2390

Activists Tense Ahead Of 'Aurat March' In Pakistan
Tension prevails as activists gear up for the massive 'Aurat March' in Lahore and other Pakistani cities on the eve of International Women’s Day on Sunday.

Women across Pakistan have faced and continue to face all sorts of opposition and backlash from the conservative groups for taking part in ‘Aurat March’. Some even filed a petition demanding to restrict the march, however, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed the petition.

This year the manifesto revolves around the economic justice for women and their independence. But it was the rallying cry ‘mera jism meri merzi or my body, my choice' in 2019 which touched a nerve and continues to cause controversy. 

Last year, the organisers and participants of the 'Aurat March' faced backlash and online threats 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.

Since its first iteration in 2018, the ‘Aurat March' was organised to coincide with the International Women's Day by Hum Aurtain (We the Women)  – a feminist collective — in Lahore and Karachi. 

The idea began with a handful of women wanting to mobilise their networks to ask for an end to violence and harassment. Since then, it has grown into a wider movement, including transgender people, demanding better laws to protect women.

Nighat Dad, founder of Digital Rights Foundation and one of the organisers of the march, was quoted as saying, “The agenda of the march was to demand resources and dignity for women, for transgender community, for religious minorities, and for those on the economic margins, but more importantly, to acknowledge that women’s emancipation is inherently linked with improvement of all mistreated groups and minorities”.


Its manifesto demanding basic rights for women in each field of life is as follows.

  • Economic Justice, including the implementation of the Sexual Harassment Against Women in the Workplace 2010, the recognition of women’s contribution to the care economy as unpaid labour, implementation of labour rights for women, and gender and sexual minorities, 
  • Environmental Justice, including access to safe drinking water and air, protection of Animal Rights and Wildlife and women’s participation in the production of cash crops 
  • A total and immediate end to gender-based violence against women, all genders and sexual minorities both offline and online 
  • Accountability and restorative justice against violence particularly in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan and Gilgit- Baltistan, and other areas where women and vulnerable populations have trouble accessing justice 
  • An end to and accountability for police brutality
  • Inclusion of differently-abled persons, and those with less visible disabilities and mental illnesses in public spaces, equal access to and protection in public spaces and institutions for transgender persons
  • Equal access to quality reproductive and sexual health services for women, all genders and sexual minorities,
  • Reformation of personal laws of religious minorities, by eliminating discriminatory provisions
  • Denunciation of policies of mass destruction, militarisation and warmongering. 

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