KARACHI: In contrast to his party's stance, a local Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader has warned men who stood in support of the Aurat March.
Using derogatory language for such men in a video message on his Facebook page, Naeem Baloch said that they had lost their 'ghairat' [honour], adding that all Muslims should try to stop such events which he claimed went against the teachings of Islam.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Baloch said, "I am first a Muslim, then a Baloch. I know my leadership supports the march, but as a Muslim, I cannot support events that have slogans like 'mera jism, meri marzi' [my body, my choice]."
He further contradicted the remarks he made in his video, claiming that he hadn't threatened anyone.
Baloch is the general secretary of Lyari's PS-108 seat, which the PPP had lost to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal in 2018.
Meanwhile, the PPP's female supporters told The Express Tribune that Baloch's video message had spread fear among those of them in Lyari who were planning to go to the Aurat March on Sunday.
"This is not the first time he has used such words," said Rukia Khatoon from Kalakot. "There is fear among young workers that people like him could harm him, but our party leadership is a strong advocate of women's rights."
Earlier this week, Baloch had recorded a similar video message telling Baloch women not to participate in Baloch Culture Day, celebrated on March 2.
"He threatens women who participate in such events," claimed Sughra Bibi, another PPP worker, adding that such worldviews were being imposed on Lyari's people.
Bibi alleged that Baloch had the patronage of religious party leaders based in Lyari. "People like him want to confine us to our homes, but we will resist and demand our rights."
Yet Baloch maintained he was not stopping anyone from participating in the march. "Everyone has the right to go wherever they want."
When contacted, PPP South president Khalil Hoot said he was unaware of the video. He claimed that Baloch was a helpful person. "I do not think he could threaten anyone," he added, saying he would look into the matter.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2020.
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