Everyone has a right to express his or her feelings in a way that is within the ambit of law of the land. Unfortunately, we are faced with a new controversy regarding holding Aurat March, to mark International Women’s Day, this Sunday.
Religio political parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Jamat Islami led by Sirajul Haq have raised serious concerns over allowing civil society activists to observe Aurat March, arguing that it was against Islamic norms.
The latest top trend on social media, showing how a drama writer Khalilur Rehman Qamar held a verbal brawl with women rights activist Marvi Sarmad, has further ignited the situation. There is clearly a widening gulf between different segments of the society whether Aurat March should be allowed or not.
Earlier this week, top judge of the Lahore High Court Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh has directed the local administration and Lahore police to decide applications seeking permission to hold Aurat March as per law. Justice Mamoon Rashid observed that no hate speech, slogans or placards be displayed that could hurt the feelings of any segment of the society.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has publicly supported Aurat March whereas there is difference of opinion among PTI and PML-N lawmakers. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry utilized the platform of Twitter by tweeting that Punjab government should take immediate steps for security of Aurat March if Rizvi’s (TLP chief) and Aziz’s (Lal Mosque’s cleric) can be allowed to even preach hatred.
A peaceful group, Chaudhry tweeted, may be allowed to preach their views and we may differ with their views, it’s not a problem. It is a test for Kaptaan’s government how it manages to deal with the situation.
The civil society should be permitted to hold Aurat March with a clear message that the law of land and our cultural should also be kept in mind. The government should make it clear that everyone is free to express himself of herself but within norms. Neither there should be any discrimination nor intolerance in the society.
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