Lahore, Feb 28 (IANS) The Lahore High Court has sought replies from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police on a petition against the holding of the Aurat March 2020, which is scheduled to take place on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8.
The petition was filed by Judicial Activism Council Chairman Azhar Siddique who claimed “there are various anti-state parties funding the march with the sole purpose of spreading anarchy in public”, Dawn news reported.
The petition also termed the march “against the norms of Islam”, adding that it had a “hidden agenda” to spread “vulgarity and hatred”.
“During last year’s Aurat March, women were holding placards that had objectionable messages,” said Siddique.
On Thursday, LHC Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh heard arguments from both sides with Advocate Hina Jilani and founder of Digital Rights Foundation, Nighat Dad, defending the holding of the march.
“We are holding the Aurat March to highlight the importance of women in our society. The march will be held on a Sunday and will not hinder any economic activity,” Jilani told the court.
She pointed out that the march was also held last year and had remained peaceful.
“We understand this agenda,” the petitioner responded, adding: “It is not our intention to stop the march, we want that the immoral representation of it (online) stops.”
After hearing the arguments, Chief Justice Sheikh said: “We need to hear what public institutions have to say on this.”
He then ordered the FIA and police to submit their responses on the matter, said the Dawn news report.
On March 8, 2019, women across Pakistan came together to participate in the Aurat March.
However, the backlash against the march and its organisers was swift.
The backlash began with a trickle of comments on Twitter and Facebook, then escalated as people began faking and doctoring images of posters to circulate them on social media and stir up further controversy.