KARACHI : The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly passed on Wednesday a unanimous resolution against what they deemed “shameless and un-Islamic” slogans, placards and demands raised at Women’s Day marches in major cities across the country.
The resolution was jointly tabled by members of both the government and opposition.
It called for unearthing “the hidden elements involved in a conspiracy to damage our family system and societal traditions”.
“…on March 8, 2019, in different cities across the country… the women took to the streets claiming to be representatives of the civil society with shameless and un-Islamic slogans, placards and demands,” the resolution states.
“The rights Islam has given to women and minorities are negated. Hence, the authorities should take note of the immodest behavior being exhibited at the march. The provincial assembly and the government is requested to demand the federal government to expose such forces and conspiracies and determine its future course of action so that no one can indulge in denting the foundations of Islam and the country’s ideological foundations,” it further adds.
The resolution was presented by Rehana Ismail of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, and carried the signatures of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Nighat Orakzai, Awami National Party’s Samar Bilour and Shahida, Ayesha Bano and Ayesha Naeem of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Bilawal takes notice
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto took notice of Orakzai’s endorsement of the resolution and sought an explanation from her.
He reprimanded her for going against the party’s policy.
Orakzai, however, clarified that she was not against International Women’s Day but the slogans displayed at the Aurat March events.
Organiser speaks out
Aurat March Peshawar organiser Gulalai Ismail criticised the move and lamented the fact that even secular parties did not stand behind female empowerment. “Instead they are aligning their political goals with the status quo,” she told The Express Tribune.
“The women who took to the streets in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar wanted to highlight the myriad of issues being faced by by them on a daily basis.”
Ismail said participants wanted to highlight the oppression and gender inequalities in society.
Aurat March, she added, stresses on the role women play in peace building and creating a healthier society.
The event attracted tens of thousands of women on March 8 and was only the second of its kind in the country.
Organisers said they were at the receiving end of death and rape threats on social media over the event, which prompted complaints from some conservative groups.
Rights activist Nighat Dad said the march organisers are looking into filing a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency about the online harassment.
Pakistan has experienced an uptick in social media usage with more than 40 million Facebook users. The rapid growth has sparked an online debate about misogyny, with some women highlighting the frequency with which they receive hate-mail and pornographic messages.
A member of another religious political party also filed a complaint with police in Karachi where approximately 7,000 women attended the march, saying the protesters “provoked religious sentiments” and spread vulgarity.