Will support Aurat March as long as it ‘doesn't trample on Pakistan's honour’: Awan

Published March 6, 2020
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses an event in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan addresses an event in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV

Prime minister's assistant Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday promised to extend complete support for the upcoming Aurat March provided it "does not trample on Pakistan's honour".

While addressing an event in Islamabad, Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said strengthening women was the government's "most important mission".

But, she added: "We regret that those people who are introducing slogans in the media in order to empower women do not realise that the victims of that mindset are [the women of the society]."

"By coming out on roads and raising slogans that are not permitted by values observed by our society, religion or family, what kind of power do [the marchers] want?" she went on to ask.

"We will have to see who are these handful of people who possess this mindset [and] are busy in misleading the entire nation, especially women," she said.

Awan did not elaborate on the "mindset", which she claimed was being perpetrated to "mislead" people.

She pointed out that the Constitution provided protection and rights to women and that it was the aim of the government to make women independent.

What is the Aurat March?

The 'Aurat March', as it has come to be known since its first iteration in 2018, was organised by Hum Aurtain — a feminist collective. It has a manifesto demanding basic rights for women in each field of life.

For the past two years, it has been organised to coincide with the International Women's Day on March 8, which is also the scheduled date for the rally this year.

Last year, the holding of the rally led to a backlash against the organisers and participants for “violating Islamic principles” and “disrespecting women”. Most critics had issues with the placards and banners used during the march, which they said transgressed Pakistan's cultural values. There were also reports of the organ­isers of the march receiving threats on social media.

This year, the March's manifesto revolves around khudmukhtari (independence) of women.

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