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Women’s Day march banned in Lahore over “controversial banners”



Women's Day march banned in Lahore over 'controversial banner'

“It is a violation of our rights,” says Aurat March organizer (Image from Aurat March Multan 2022)


Authorities in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore have refused to allow a rally to mark International Women’s Day, which regularly meets a fierce reaction in the conservative, patriarchal country.

Marches have been held in major cities across Pakistan since 2018 to bring attention to women’s rights.

Lahore city officials cited “controversial cards and banners” that are commonly displayed by participants in the march and security concerns behind the decision, which prompted organizers to march late Friday. were placed in a notification.

“Haya (humility)” marches are usually opposed by religious groups to call for the preservation of Islamic values.

“This is a violation of our rights. It calls into question the state’s ability to manage the right to freedom of assembly for both groups,” Hiba Akbar, the organizer of the Aurat (women) march Lahore, told AFP.

Lahore authorities have given permission for this year’s Haya March to be held, despite a ban on the Aurat March.

Organizers of the Aurat March in Pakistan have often had to resort to legal action to counter efforts to ban it.

The Aurat March rallies have sparked controversy because of banners and placards waved by participants that raise topics such as divorce, sexual harassment and menstruation.

The organizers and participants have been accused of promoting western, liberal values ​​and disrespecting religious and cultural sensitivities.

Much of Pakistani society operates under a strict code of “honor”, which organizes women’s oppression of rights such as the right to marry, reproductive rights, and even the right to education.

Hundreds of women are killed every year in Pakistan by men for “honor”.

Rights group Amnesty International said the Lahore verdict was “an illegal and unnecessary restriction on the right of assembly”.

Authorities in the capital Islamabad have moved the Aurat March to a city park where a woman was gang-raped in February, citing security concerns.

“We are a feminist movement, we will not be in parks but in the streets,” the organizers of the march said in a statement.

In 2020, groups of radical Islamist men came in vans and pelted stones at women participating in the Aurat March.

Women have long fought for basic rights in Pakistan, where activists say men perpetrate “widespread and disproportionate” violence against them.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Genelia-Riteish Deshmukh and Soha Ali Khan-Kunal Khemu clicked in the city


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