Controversial material related to Aurat March on social media being investigated: minister

Published March 15, 2021
A view of an Aurat March event held on March 8. — Photo: Dawn Images
A view of an Aurat March event held on March 8. — Photo: Dawn Images

The "controversial material" shared on social media concerning the Aurat March held on March 8 is being investigated, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said on Sunday.

"[We] will expose the culprits involved and register cases against them," he said in a statement.

The minister said the elements who photoshopped banners from Aurat March before sharing them online "will also be punished".

The move comes after a video from the demonstration held in Karachi was doctored to falsely show participants raising blasphemous slogans and widely shared online.

The orga­ni­sers of Aurat March clarified that the participants of the march did not raise such slogans and their video was edited to defame their struggle.

On Friday, dozens of people from different groups blocked Khayaban-i-Suharwardy and Srinagar Highway in Islamabad during a protest against Aurat March.

Officials of the capital administration and police said that the Sunni Rabta Council, State Youth Parliament Muslim Talba Mahaz and Muttahida Talba Mahaz staged separate protests at Aabpara Chowk. They demanded registration of FIRs against organisers and participants of Aurat March.

In his statement, Qadri said blasphemous acts could not be allowed at any cost in Pakistan, adding that officials were trying to get to the bottom of the "controversial material shared on social media".

According to the minister, the banners displayed and alleged "blasphemous" slogans raised during the Aurat March events are also being investigated.

Aurat March has become an annual feature since 2018 and every year faces backlash from certain religio-political parties, who have been opposing the event.

The marches are organised in major cities to highlight issues facing women and condemning incidents of violence against them as well as gender discrimination, economic exploitation and misogyny.

Following this year’s march on International Women’s Day, heated debates were once again seen on social media for and against the march.

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