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‘Frivolous’ Aurat March petition is ‘cheap publicity’ stunt: rights activist

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 26, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Feb 26, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Says some people are trying to create a 'social conflict'

As the civil society and women rights activists prepare to organize this year’s Aurat March, a lawyer in Lahore has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court to stop them from celebrating the international women’s day on March 8.

His objection to the Aurat March is “vulgarity”.  Advocate Azhar Siddique believes there are laws in place to safeguard women’s rights and fundamental rights.

“Regarding rights, I am unable to see any disparity,” Siddique told SAMAA TV’s anchorperson Ali Haider in his show. To prove his point, the Lahore-based lawyer said that there are 60 women seats in the house of 342 people.

His objections were categorically dismissed by Hina Jilani, a lawyer and human rights activist in Lahore.

“I think, this is his own mindset [vulgarity], no sane person will agree with it,” Jilani said. She termed Siddique’s petition to stop the Aurat March a “cheap publicity” stunt.

In his petition, Siddique had claimed that the march is funded by “anti-state parties” and its “hidden agenda is to spread anarchy, vulgarity and hatred”.

The petition claims, “If Aurat March 2019 is taken in account, it can clearly be observed that the so-called ‘Aurat March’ is nothing but an anti-state activity aimed at tarnishing the dignity of women and tarnishing the image of Islam.” He claims that “morality and decency have to be safeguarded and protected by the state at all costs”.

Jilani, however, believes that Siddique “frivolous petition” will get a “befitting response” from the courts. “There are many people who try to create social conflicts,” she added.

“I want to tell such people that the women have gotten their rights through struggle and they know how to safeguard it,” Jilani remarked. “I don’t think that their objections have any kind of weight.”

Women activists organise the Aurat March every year on March 8 to mark the International Women’s Day in different cities of Pakistan. The participants march around a designated route and chant slogans against patriarchy, oppression and usurpation of rights of women and transgender people.

“Aurat March is our freedom of assembly and the women who attend it are those who spent their lives struggling for basic and human rights,” Jilani said.
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Aurat March, Pakistan, Azhar Siddique, Hina Jilani, Lahore
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