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Aurat March: Women take to the streets in cities across Pakistan

Courtesy: Dawn News

Raising their voices over the many injustices, women across Pakistan participated in the Aurat March on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

The first Aurat March in Pakistan was held on March 8, 2018, in Karachi. The next year, it was extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana, and Hyderabad. This year’s event was the seventh march since its inception.

This year too, women from all segments of society marched for their rights in major cities across the country. They held posters inscribed with “Stop gender-based violence” and “Girls just wanna walk home safe”.

Some marchers also held banners in support of the people of Palestine while others called for an end to enforced disappearances.

In Karachi, women mobilised at Frere Hall and marched to Teen Talwar. However, the turnout this year seemed underwhelming. There were relatively fewer people who were present and even fewer who were willing to be interviewed.

Ahead of the march, several sessions covering a myriad of social issues were held.

Aurat March – عورت مارچ@AuratMarchKHI
Session on minority rights ongoing at main stage. Girls and women from minority communities who have survived forced conversions are sharing their stories!

At one such meeting, transgender activist Shehzadi Rai expressed how certain individuals, who claimed to be supportive of transgender people, engaged in superficial acts.

She demanded that such “trans-friendly” people had no choice but “to give us respect” now, in line with the slogan of their session that read: izzat toh deni paregi (You have to give respect).

Meanwhile, women in Lahore gathered outside the press club and displayed public art pieces. The demonstrators also recited poems written by Habib Jalib and other revolutionaries.

In Islamabad, on the other hand, Aurat March organisers claimed that the participants were pushed by the police and were stopped from marching towards D-Chowk.

1- Header image: An Aurat March participant in Islamabad hold a banner. — Aurat March/X

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