Lahore, Islamabad Deny Permission For Aurat March

Lahore, Islamabad Deny Permission For Aurat March
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Lahore Rafia Haider has denied permission to Aurat March organisers on the grounds of security concerns, ‘controversial’ cards and banners with slogans supporting women’s rights, and the likelihood of clashes with members of Jamaat-e-Islami’s so-called "Haya March" counter-protest.

The Aurat March organizing committee had requested a 'no objection certificate' (NOC) from the district administration to hold a rally on March 8 at Nasser Bagh, Lahore, followed by a march around the perimeter of the park.

Civil society, political parties, and rights organisations condemned the DC's decision to rejecting the plea for organising Aurat March on International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on 8 March.

DC Lahore Rafia Haider rejected the plea in the wake of threat alerts from security agencies. “Following the current security scenario, threat alerts, and law and order situation, and in light of activities like controversial cards and banners for awareness of women’s rights and the strong reservation of the general public and religious organizations, especially JI’s women’s and student wings, who had also announced a program against the Aurat March,” said a letter issued by the DC to the Aurat March organisers.

“There is fear of conflict between the two groups, therefore, the NOC may not be issued for the holding of the Aurat March and Convention at Alhamra Hall, The Mall, and Aiwan-i-Iqbal, and a rally from the Lahore Press Club to Charing Cross, and also at a rally at Nasser Bagh, on March 8 to avoid any law and order situation or mishap,” the DC's missive stated.

Aurat March organisers have vowed to go ahead with the protest march on Wednesday, despite the government not giving them permission to do so.

Meanwhile, reliable sources have reported that the Islamabad district administration has also denied permission for the Aurat March rally in the federal capital.

Earlier, Aurat March Karachi announced that it will be holding its march in Pakistan's metropolitan hub on 12 March instead of 8 March. This year, the Aurat March is themed on the lines of feminisation of climate justice, feminism in times of crisis, and demanding answers as well as social justice from the Pakistani state.