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Burqa-clad Women along with Muslim men protest against “Aurat March” that demands equal rights for women at par with men in Pakistan

The opposition to Aurat March stems from a skewed understanding of societal discrimination, often due to a predisposition that both genders enjoy "equal rights" allegedly in the Quran.

On Saturday, a group of Burqa clad women took out a rally at Zila Council Chowk in Faisalabad, Pakistan against the “Aurat March” orchestrated by progressive women seeking equal rights at par with men in the orthodox Pakistani society. The women were joined by Muslim men also in the rally.

The Official Twitter account of Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Women Wing dubbed the rally against the ‘Aurat March’  as ‘Haya March’ (loosely translated as “march of modesty”). It also alleged that Islam protects Women’s dignity.

In another video, a large number of regressive Muslim men could be seen holding placards and agitating against Aurat March in Khoski, Sindh Province of Pakistan.

Those opposing the Aurat March claim that women in Pakistan already have equal rights, as the can get education, get employment at par with men. They see the march as propaganda by liberal feminists from the west.

The opposition to Aurat March stems from a skewed understanding of societal discrimination, often due to a predisposition that both genders enjoy “equal rights” allegedly in the Quran. As such, any attempt at reformation is curbed with an iron hand. For instance, the following tweet by a Pakistani man, in an attempt to demonise the peaceful women’s march, draws a false equivalence between a “non-consensual, predatory behaviour” to a “consensual sexual activity.”

Earlier, the Sunni extremists in Pakistan stopped the organisers of the Aurat March for women’s right in Islamabad from completing a mural, claiming it was against Sharia. The Islamists also defaced the mural and wrote hateful messages addressed to the Shia community.

The extremists painted hostile slogans against Shia Muslims, who are a minority in a Sunni dominated Pakistan. The slogan written on the mural declared Shia Muslims to be “Kaafir” (infidels). The Pakistan government had banned the organisation twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2012.

Aurat March was first organised in 2018 on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th, after which it has become an annual event. On this day, women march in various cities of Pakistan demanding equality and freedom.

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