Speakers condemn ‘hatred-based propaganda against women’

Say it is the right of citizens to talk about their problems in peaceful manner

​ Our Correspondent March 06, 2020

KARACHI: International Women's Day witnessed rallies across the globe to pay homage to the historic struggle of women and to raise voice for gender equality, particularly in social and economic sectors, said the patrons of Aurat March on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC), they expressed disappointment over the recent uproar against the march. Stating that it was saddening that "reactionary and undemocratic forces were afraid of women becoming aware of their rights" and had already started a hatred-based propaganda against women, they condemned such move.

These groups did not want to see women progressing and getting empowered in society, they said, adding that they had resorted to threatening to stop the women's day programme with the use of force.

The representatives firmly maintained that it was the right of citizens to express their views and talk about their problems in a peaceful manner. To this end, they appreciated the Lahore High Court (LHC) for its recent judgment, as it had accepted this right of citizens and upheld the Constitution.

However, this right was still not accepted by some people in society, they lamented, adding that the members of Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF), among other organisations, were being threatened for their involvement in the Aurat March. However, the federation had informed the relevant authorities that they would not be deterred from organising the programme on women's day, they said.

The speakers highlighted the fact that Pakistani women were celebrating women's day in a society where discriminatory laws against women existed, as in almost all contexts women were still considered "second-class citizens." Women working in farms, fields, factories and other workplaces not only face economic exploitation but also sexual harassment, they elaborated.

For these reasons, and more, female doctors, nurses, lady health visitors, teachers and those working in other fields were taking to the streets to fight for their rights.

The patrons maintained that currently "anti-people" economic and political policies were being devised on the dictation of the International Monetary Fund, resulting in severe economic crisis in the country, where women workers were the worst affected by the crisis. Furthermore, thousands of families were being displaced in the name of anti-encroachment operations therefore, women, especially working women, had organised themselves, and emerged as a potent force to fight the injustice, they said.

They also condemned the "anti-women" and insulting remarks of drama writer Khalilur Rehman Qamar and demanded that media houses ban his programmes. They expressed solidarity with Aurat March rallies across the country and appealed to Karachiites to attend the rally that would march from the Arts Council of Pakistan to KPC.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2020.


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