Aurat March has been a widely controversial topic ever since it started, about three years ago to mark Women’s Day in Pakistan as a collective moment of solidarity among women of the country. Critics, mostly right-leaning males, claim it’s a pointless movement that exploits feminism, however those defending it say that it’s in fact a platform for women to be able to voice their rights and issues to a larger public discourse. Regardless, while women fearlessly march on threats to their exitsence grow sinister each other.
Recently, Jamiat e Ulema e Islam leader Rashid Mehmoud threatened to take to the streets against Aurat March that’s going to happen on March 8, this year
As the tradition of the March continues, women who are participating have received many death threats. They’re being bullied online, threatened with assault and acid attacks and many attempts are being made to force down their voice.
The inflammatory speech by the JUI leader in Sukkur condemning them has caused even more serious threats to the safety if these marchers around the country.
#JUI leader in #Sindh #RashidMehmoud threaten the #AuratAzadiMarch2020 in #Sukkur organised by @Arfanamallah @amarsindhu and their friends @AuratMarchKHI @AuratMarch @beenasarwar @HRCP87 https://t.co/oBDUYGMFk1
— Riaz sohail (@RiazSangi) February 26, 2020
These are the women JUI Sindh is afraid they think these women are going to be westernised in Aurat Azadi March Sukkur.
تیز ہو تیز ہو جدوجہد تیز ہو۔۔۔ Mobilization is Aurat Azadi march in kashmore pic.twitter.com/kZkcGkEsup
— amar sindhu (@amarsindhu) February 26, 2020
While these threats against women and Aurat March are hardly new, it’s becoming more important to pay attention as the discourse around this March gets even more tense every year
This is not the first time women have faced threats like these. Every year, as the month of March is close, threats flood social media against those who plan to attend these Marches or discuss them online. This calls for some serious action in the way of protecting women in case something actually dangerous takes place.
KP assembly passes resolution against #AuratMarch a mullah proudly sends rape threats to participants. Holier than thou anchors spew hate against these women…so who will be responsible if God forbid someone attacks these women? This is now incitement to violence and must be
— Zarrar Khuhro (@ZarrarKhuhro) March 20, 2019
Threats against organizers and participants of #AuratMarch are dire. After Bahawalpur, there is no such thing as an empty threat. Endorsement of and incitement to violence & murder is what cultural and religious sensibilities are about for you? That's what you seek to protect?
— Farieha Aziz (@FariehaAziz) March 21, 2019
A petition to ban Aurat March has also surfaced this year in Lahore
As animosity towards Aurat March increases, a petition to ban it all together has surfaced in Lahore High Court. While many people have spoken against the petition, the Lahore High Court has chosen to accept the petition even when it had the chance to throw the petition out on grounds of frivolity.
Lahore High Court accepted a petition to stop Aurat March 2020.
Petitioner Azhar Siddique:
"there are various anti-state parties present who are funding this Aurat March with the sole purpose of spreading anarchy amongst the masses".
Will be heard at 27th Feb.
— Haider Kaleem (@HaiderKaleemB) February 24, 2020
People have actively voiced their concerns over society’s hypocrisy at being threatened by a group of women and not by actual lives being endangered
fucking disgusting people i kinda hate pakis now.The men here will file a petition against #auratmarch but would never say anything against this shit. You assholes ughhhh this sucks i hate this life. https://t.co/gFSta9hPaL
— fakelilpeep🧛🏻♂️ (@mirkhan02) February 26, 2020
Lol. Aurat March is anti-Islam and this, isn’t right? 😂 file a petition against this mafia? The deep web mafia. https://t.co/xi1bcM6reJ
— Hashir (@toxicvermicelli) February 25, 2020
And we have people signing petition against #AuratMarch. Men raping, filming and blackmailing, all three heinous criminal activities are not against Islam, but a human asking for their rights is. #WhyIMarch https://t.co/B2n3RprpBa
— Aaliya Javed (@Aaliyajaved) February 26, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also been urged to step in and ensure that women are able to avail their constitutionally ensured right on Women’s Day
After the recent news of violence against Muslims in Delhi, Imran Khan had issued a statement condemning it and urging the world to take notice. PM Khan also issued a warning to anyone who targets minorities in Pakistan, saying that they are equal citizens.
I want to warn our people that anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly. Our minorities are equal citizens of this country.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 26, 2020
Upon this, Pakistani women have taken to social media to urge the Prime Minister to take action for the protection of women as in many areas, women too are treated as minorities – even though they comprise almost half of the population.
Thank you PM, these people are spreading hate and inciting violence against women marchers, women constitute half of Pakistan’s population but r treating as minority. We have a right to peaceful assembly/association & exercising this right on International women’s day is no crime https://t.co/9lWNFKpmWl pic.twitter.com/5F6TINbfkx
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) February 26, 2020
Pakistani women are being utterly brave to speak up against centuries of systemic oppression despite such obvious threats to their lives. Here’s hoping that authorities take the right step in curtailing all the frivolous threats against the Aurat March that serve nothing but to incite fickle minded people to take violent measures.
Cover image via: dawn.com