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Women holding rallies for their rights ridiculed in Pakistan: Report

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Islamabad | March 16, 2023 12:05:12 AM IST
Patriarchal dominance in Pakistan was witnessed again when women in the country were asserting their rights in the wake of International Women's Day. Pakistani women holding rallies for their rights and seeking protection from gender violence and sexual harassment were ridiculed and even beaten by police, Just Earth News reported.

The Pakistani government authorities did not allow the women for holding peaceful rallies until the courts intervened in the matter. The male-dominated society of Pakistan has caused widespread exploitation of women among all age groups, as per the news report.

About 63,000 cases of gender-based violence were recorded in the past three years in Pakistan, according to the PJust Earth News report. According to Pakistan's Human Rights Commission, 80 per cent of these complaints were about domestic violence and 47 per cent were regarding domestic rape where married women experienced sexual abuse.

About 90 per cent of Pakistani women are reported to have faced domestic violence once in their lifetime and 50 per cent of them have ignored them. Only 0.4 per cent of these women go to court to file cases. As per the Just Earth News report, Pakistani minister Senator Rehman said, "Our society is layered with patriarchy, and it subjugates women through a series of institutional, social, and cultural norms that allow and normalise violence against women."

Notably, Pakistani women have been holding 'Aurat March' every year since 2018 to express their anger, seek protection as well as equal status. However, women face fierce opposition from a major section of Pakistani society. The government authorities have also opposed the march. Furthermore, a curfew was imposed in some places.

Lahore Court intervened in the matter and granted permission to women to hold a march. However, police authorities attempted to stop the rallies and beat women participants. Even religious extremists reportedly attacked the women in the Aurat march which led to widespread criticism.

Human Rights Commission criticized police authorities for the use of force. It said that they are concerned about the reports that religious organizations have attempted to hinder women from participating in the march, as per the news report.

Human Rights Commission tweeted, "We are also concerned by reports that religious organizations have tried to hinder women from taking part in the march. Women have as much right to peaceful assembly as any citizen."

Aurat March was held in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Hyderabad, and Multan. Women chanted slogans against sexual exploitation, and domestic violence, and in support of women's empowerment, and equality, as per the news report.

"We speak of socialist feminism. We speak of democracy. We speak of anti-enforced disappearances. We speak of equality and access to public spaces for women. These are the reasons why the state will always have a problem with us," Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, one of the organisers in Islamabad said as per the Just Earth News report.

In 2020, a group of hardliners hurled stones at the women attendees of the Aurat March. Even this year, the Aurat March received criticism. (ANI)

 
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