War of slogans as rallies mark Int’l Women Day

Police disallow slogans violating court orders: JI chief rules out tickets for those denying women share in inheritance

By: Faizan Javed      Published: 01:23 PM, 8 Mar, 2020
War of slogans as rallies mark Int’l Women Day

Rival Aurat March and Haya March were staged in all the big cities of Pakistan on Sunday to commemorate the International Women’s Day 2020.

In Lahore the main Aurat March was started from Nadra Centre near Lahore Press Club passing through Egerton Road it culminated at Aiwan-i-Iqbal.

A large number of women participated in the march. The women have taken some satire slogans ‘mera jism tumhari marzi, ab khush’ (My body, your choice. Now Happy) as well as ‘mujhe haya seikhanay say pehlay, apni search history dikhao’ (Before teaching me modesty, show your online search history).

On the other hand, various Haya Marches have also been kicked off in Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala and Peshawar. Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) led the Haya Day marches in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. 

In Lahore JI took out Takreem-e-Niswah (Respect of women) march from Nasir Bagh in Lahore. In Peshawar JUI-F took a large demonstration against ‘Aurat March’ while in Gujranwala women on their own staged Haya march holding placards inscribed with different slogans including ‘mera jism amanat Allah ki’.

The Aurat March in Lahore saw a massive turnout of women as well as men, hailing from all classes, ethnic and religious groups, uniting under the banner of ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’.

Marchers assembled at the Lahore Press Club, carrying placards, playing drums, chanting slogans and clapping. From activists, journalists and writers to actors, artists and celebrities, the demonstrators included every section of the society.

The demonstrators then watched street theatre performances on a stage set up in the March.

Talking to 24NewsHD.tv, eminent lawyer Nighat Dad said: “The aim of the Aurat March was to try and build a movement that tackles class and gender oppression. The march is a testament to the fact that, with time, more and more women and men are getting educated. I am highly thankful to Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar for providing us such full security because without the police protection this march would not have been a success.”

On-duty Dolphin Squad Superintendent of Police (SP) Aisha Butt said: “All participants of the Aurat March will be passed through walkthrough gates. Parking facilities for the marchers were allocated near Queen Mary College.  A large number of female police officers are recruited at the protest. She said slogans which are against the court orders will not be allowed at the protest.”

According to the organisers of the event, the goal was to get women to come out on the streets and help them to fight for their basic rights.

Sarah Khan, one of the participant s, said: “I have never felt this free in my life. No one has molested or harassed me, and for once men are standing on the sidelines, not doing anything. This is what we call ‘Naya Pakistan’ where men and women are educated and support each other for their basic rights.”

Another participant Sumaira Ali said: “We’re living in a country where the space for dissent is shrinking every day and when we fight in our individual capacity, it gets really difficult and you get singled out and suffer pressure on a different level. Today no woman is alone. We are here to create a society where we can live with dignity.”

Various politicians have also shared messages for International Women's Day on social media.

Pakistan is not patriarchy, it’s Islamic society: Siraj

Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq said that he would not award ticket to those depriving their women of a share in inheritance.

Speaking at the Haya March rally in Islamabad, JI chief said “It is the biggest march in the history of Islamabad,” and added that he will raise his voice for every matter relating to women. “I’ll raise women’s problems on the floor of the Senate too.”

Recalling the Jahilya period before Islam when women were not given due respect, Sirajul Haq said “It was the Prophet who gave women their due place in society. After the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), women is the most revered institution,” and added that “Pakistan society is neither patriarchal nor matriarchal, it is an Islamic society.”

Resorting to the veiled criticism of the parallel “Women March”, the JI chief said “It is the western conception where woman claims exclusive rights over her body,” adding that no society gave more respect to its women than Islam did.

“It was Islam that gave women their rights to inheritance and mehar (wedding gift),” Siraj said and added “The Western woman is deprived of her man’s fidelity.”