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Tuesday April 23, 2024

LHC dismisses plea seeking to stop Aurat March 2024

"Aurat March cards and banners are not acceptable in an Islamic society," says petitioner

By Naveen Ali
March 04, 2024
Aurat March protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they gather to mark International Womens Day in Islamabad — AFP/File
Aurat March protesters hold placards and shout slogans as they gather to mark International Women's Day in Islamabad — AFP/File 

The Lahore High Court (LHC) dismissed on Monday a petition seeking to stop  Aurat March, a women's rights movement in the country, by terming it "inadmissible", Geo News reported. 

The court had reserved the verdict on the plea against the 2024 Aurat March event which is set to take place on March 8 (Friday) this week. 

LHC's Justice Shahid Karim announced the decision on the petition filed by a citizen named Azam Butt. The petitioner had made Lahore Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rafia Hyder and others party in his plea. 

In his petition, Azam said: "Aurat March cards and banners are not acceptable in an Islamic society." 

He requested the LHC to issue an order to stop the Aurat March this year. 

On March 8, women around the world mark a day they call their own — International Women’s Day, highlighting achievements and dialoguing about issues still unresolved.

The Women’s Day theme this year is "Siyasat, Muzahamat aur Azadi" (Politics, resistance, and independence), which focuses on tackling electoral politics head-on and reimagining a version of political participation where oppressed groups and communities on the margin take centre stage.

In Pakistan, women have been organising large public demonstrations for Women’s Day called Aurat [the Urdu word for woman] March, since 2018. Opposition to Aurat March has grown in proportion to its popularity and impact.

In a society where women have been shot, stabbed, stoned, set alight and strangled for damaging family "honour", critics accuse rights activists of promoting liberal Western values and disrespecting religious and cultural mores.

Last year, the district administration of Lahore denied the march organisers permission to hold a public rally. 

However, after a legal challenge, DC Haider and Aurat March organisers unanimously agreed on the time and venue for last year's rally after LHC directed the two parties to finalise a location for the march.