Aurat March entered its third consecutive year and the crowds in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi were much bigger and louder compared to the last two years.
This year’s Aurat March had in its audience not only women and men but also a huge number of children.
And while families came in by dozens to show their support for the rights of the marginalized, there were also many who could not keep their vile insecurity in check.
The backlash started almost a week earlier by maligning the famous, “Mera jism, meri marzi,” slogan…
Then came the court petitions demanding a ban on the March…
And when nothing worked, right-wing “religious” parties demanded to hold Haya March at the same time and venue as the Aurat March in Islamabad.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with observing Haya March, of course. That’s the beauty of democracy, people have the right to associate with and publicly support a cause that’s close to their hearts.
However, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Hamza Shafqaat had earlier told Bolo Jawan that the Aurat March organizers had applied for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) in February and after due diligence were given one.
On the other hand, the Haya March proponents had applied for the NOC only a few days before 8th March 2020 and in the interest of law and order, it was not possible for the city administration to allow two divergent groups to have a face-off.
Nonetheless, even in the absence of a NOC, the right-wing staged a parallel protest outside National Press Club, Islamabad.
The speeches at Haya March – mainly led by men – almost entirely focused on calling those attending the Aurat March “be-haya” and “agents of the west.” Each speech was rounded-off by sending profuse lanat on the feminists.
And because the verbal assault wasn’t enough, the agitated mullahs eventually did what they do best: create a law and order situation.
They first began pelting shoes, then sticks and finally stones at the crowd that included CHILDREN!
They then brought down the tenting that separated the two marches and tried to penetrate across the divide.