Aurat March Lahore has filed a writ petition before the Lahore High Court (LHC), calling for women’s right to march on International Women’s Day (08 March) to be protected. For its part, the city administration did not reply to the Aurat March organisers’ intimation of the upcoming event. In fact, the Additional Deputy Commissioner for Lahore instructed police and other authorities to meet the Aurat March organisers and attempt to dissuade them from proceeding with the event in view of “security threats and possible conflict on the streets.” Moreover, the Additional Deputy Commissioner took the position that should the organisers choose to continue with the yearly event, they would be responsible for the safety of participants.
According to the Aurat March organisers, the state is abdicating its responsibility to protect citizens and ensure their exercise of fundamental rights. The petition by Aurat March before the LHC is due to be heard on the morning of 07 March by Justice Shahid Waheed. Organisers of the event have cited freedom of assembly and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution in articles 16,17 and 19.
“We will demand from the court a right that is already ours – the right to reclaim the streets and march onwards,” say the Aurat March organisers.
Last month, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri had written a letter to Prime Minister Imran, seeking a ban on the Aurat March, while terming the event an “affront to Islamic principles and social customs.”