Police have reportedly stopped a Women’s Day Conference that was to be held by the female Baloch students at the University of Balochistan in Quetta with district forces deploying a heavy contingent on the university campus to curb the women’s day demonstration.
Under the motto ‘We Will Be Heard’, the event was scheduled to coincide with international women’s day until police and university administration began ‘harassing and threatening’ students.
Videos of police swarming the campus were being shared by students on social media. Police have reportedly stopped female students from entering the conference and are checking all entrants at the university campus gates.
University of Balochistan Admin along with district administration has prohibited us to conduct Baloch Women Conference inside university premises. Hundreds of police have been gathered inside uni premises to hinder the way of such a mega event.#BalochWomenConference pic.twitter.com/SwcepYLLFH
— Asif Baloch (@Asif_Baloch8) March 7, 2022
University Vice Chancellor has reportedly stopped students from assembling, with police on alert for a baton charge, with students reporting that he VC has said he would not allow any program to be held celebrating women’s day.
Police is alert for baton charge on Women on the occasion of #WomensDay
The university of Balochistan’s Vice Chancellor is not letting to arrange#BalochWomenConference pic.twitter.com/he91z4Ttrf
— Uzair Nizar Baloch (@Uzairbaloch52) March 8, 2022
The blocking of woman conference at the University of Balochistan organized by @Bsacorg colleagues on the occasion of International Working Women's Day highlights the attitude of the rulers towards Baloch students.
We strongly condemn this behavior of the UOB administration. https://t.co/hU2FziXlId
— Farid Mengal (@_farid_mengal) March 8, 2022
International Women’s Day in Pakistan has been wrought with controversy, with threats of violence against women who participate. This year, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Islamabad chapter leader Abdul Majeed Hazarvi has threated to strike at participants of this year’s Aurat March with ‘batons’ if government allowed the march to proceed.
Similarly, Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran, seeking a ban on the Aurat March that is to be held on March 8 for International Women’s Day while terming the event an ‘affront to Islamic principles and social customs’.
Since 2018, women and men across Pakistan have participated in the ‘Aurat March‘ on International Women’s Day. This year’s march stands for ‘reimagining justice‘ within Pakistani society.