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KP govt and Peshawar deputy commissioner issued notices for banning women’s bike rally

February 21, 2019
 
The govt withdrew permission granted for the rally after clerics' opposition



The Peshawar High Court has issued a notice to the city’s deputy commissioner and the provincial government for cancelling permission granted for a women’s bike rally in the city.

Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Imran Sheikh gave permission on January 11 for the ‘Cycle Rally for Transgender and Females’ to be held on January 19 but later rescinded that permission, the bench, comprising Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth and Justice Ijaz Anwar, was informed on Thursday.

The petitioner, the Pakistan Development Mission, said the government cancelled the NOC given for the race due to “pressure and intimidation” from clerics. It has named the deputy commissioner and KP government it its petition.

It argued that barring them from holding the rally was illegal and unlawful.

“Women are equal citizens of the country and no one should be given the licence to [trample] upon their fundamental constitutional rights in the garb of religion,” said the petition. It has argued that according to Article 4 of the Constitution of Pakistan, no one can be prevented from or hindered in doing something that is not prohibited by the law.

Related: Peshawar cycle rally for women cancelled after religious parties’ opposition

It wants the government’s decision to bar the race to be declared illegal. The petitioner also wants the court to order the government to provide security for another race that will be held at a later date and take strict action against anyone who tries to intimidate or threaten them for holding the rally.

The petitioner has requested the court to order the government to allow the race to be held on March 8, International Women’s Day.

The government has summoned the government and deputy commissioner’s reply by February 27.

Speaking to the media outside the court, the petitioner’s lawyer said that the government or state should act against people threatening others and infringing on their rights but instead, the KP government stopped the people who were being threatened and withdrew permission for the rally.

Our request was under Article 4 of the Constitution, he said, adding that anyone riding a bike, be it a man, woman or transgender person, is not a crime.

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