Women and Men from all walk of the life participated in Aurat March held nationwide to mark the International Women’s Day on Sunday. The marches were organized in hopes to curb the misogynistic practices of the society.
Aurat March gatherings and rallies were held in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Multan, Sukkur, Hyderabad and other cities to highlight the predicament of women.
Hard-hitting speeches were delivered, while placards and banners displaying slogans were raised to end the menace of gender-based violence including sexual harassment in the workplace.
Founder of the Tehreek-e-Niswan Sheema Kirmani, actor Samina Ahmed, PPP-Shaheed Bhutto leader Ghinwa Bhutto and Sindh government spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab were among the prominent figures who participated in the event held in Karachi.
Also in attendant were Dua Mangi and her friend Harris. On Nov 30 of 2019, Dua was kidnapped at gunpoint from Karachi’s DHA Bukhari Commercial Area while her accompanying friend Haris was shot multiple times as he tried to resist.
This is an inspirational duo of #DuaMangi and her friend who also attended #AuratAzadiMarch2020 at #Karachi. Few months back, Dua was kidnapped; returned after long struggle. Her friend was shot on the spot; injured and became disabled due to spinal disorder. More power to them! pic.twitter.com/52nwOpyRtp
— Sikandar Ali Hullio (@HullioSikandar) March 8, 2020
In Sukkur, participants of Aurat March gathered at Lab-e-Mehran garden and walked to the press club. The marchers demanded equal rights for women, access to education, an end to forced conversions and a fund for the families of missing persons.
Sindh Human Rights Department also arranged an event in Thar’s Nangarparkar to mark Women’s Day.
In Lahore, marchers gathered at the Lahore Press Club. Carrying placards and chanting slogans calling for the independence of women.
Thing took an ugly turn in federal capital of Pakistan, when students of a locally established religious school started hurling stones at the participants of Aurat March outside the National Press Club. However, the situation was brought under control by police.
The Aurat March was first organised by Hum Aurtain in year 2018, a feminist collective. It has a manifesto demanding basic rights for women in each field of life. This year, Aurat March’s theme revolved around khudmukhtari (independence) of women.
The prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi and chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in their separate messages, showcased their solidarity with the movement and pledged to ensure the rights of women and provide them with equal opportunities in all fields.