A man wants the Lahore High Court to stop women from holding the Aurat March 2020 and advertising it on social media.
Munir Ahmed filed a petition against the organisers on Monday.
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.
The petition claims that the march is funded by “anti-state parties” and its “hidden agenda is to spread anarchy, vulgarity and hatred”.
It adds, “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”.
He said that the Citizens Protection Rules (Against Online Harm), the new rules approved two weeks ago to regulate social media, should be properly implemented to curb “anti-state activities”.
The petitioner said that he had sent an application to the Lahore police headquarters to register an FIR against those spreading anarchy and vulgarity through placards on International Women’s Day. But no action was taken against anyone, he added.
The court is expected to take up the case on February 27.
The application has been filed two days after a mural created by volunteers and participants of the Aurat March 2020 at Lahore’s Hussain Chowk was torn down.
“We had arranged a poster competition where female illustrators and designers were told to design posters for the march and send them in,” volunteer Amna Chaudhry told SAMAA Digital on Sunday.
The team received an overwhelming response after which they decided to install a mural in the city. “All the artists were called to put up their posters on the wall to showcase the essence of the march and promote it,” Chaudhry said.
But four to five hours after they had completed the activity the mural was torn down. “The posters were not just torn, somebody had actually ripped through them,” the volunteer added.