PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday said that his party will not tolerate any attack on the struggle for gender equality and women’s rights.
The PPP leader made the assertion during a meeting with a delegation of women’s rights activists led by Sheema Kirmani. PPP Senator Sherry Rehman was also present during the meeting held at Bilawal House.
Bilawal extended his support to the members of the recently staged Aurat March and its activists, who he said are struggling for their genuine and legitimate rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.
He reminded the activists of "PPP’s commitment to gender equality and empowerment", and assured them of his party's protection against any victimisation by anti-women elements.
Bilawal's reassurances came days after Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) lawmaker Abdul Rasheed lashed out at the Aurat March, which was held across Pakistani cities on March 8.
In his address on the Sindh Assembly floor, he said he would complain to police to have a case registered against the organisers of the event which he alleged disrespected women and was in violation of Islamic principles.
He had also requested the Sindh government's support in registering a first information report (FIR) against the march's organisers, saying he hoped the provincial government would cooperate with him "on the basis of the ideology and laws of Pakistan".
On Wednesday, Rasheed proceeded to file a handwritten complaint at the Artillery Maidan Police Station.
Aurat March, held on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day, was participated in by a large number of women as well as men.
The march's manifesto demands economic justice, including implementation of labour rights, the Sexual Harassment Against Women in the Workplace Act 2010, recognition of women’s input to the ‘care economy’ as unpaid labour, and provision of maternity leaves and day care centres to ensure women’s inclusion in the labour force.