The strong and brave women/men of this country took to the streets for Aurat March on International Women’s Day to raise their voices against the patriarchal mindset that leads to a whole host of issues that women face on a daily basis in Pakistan.
Every year the detractors try to stop the movement by accusing the organizers of one thing or another. This year when they had nothing left, they resorted to blasphemy charges against the Aurat March; without even realizing that their trick could get someone killed.
Here’s what the detractors alleged
A video of doctored images and fake captions was released on the internet to malign the campaign. The participants at the Aurat March chanted against patriarchy demanding their rights. These chants included names of famous politicians and journalists who had spoken against the campaign.
The video was then edited to make the words sound like something else to press charges of blasphemy.
The video was so cleverly doctored that even Hum News show host, Ovais Mangalwala fell prey to it. He, however, wisely retracted and apologized for the error on his part.
They alleged that a French flag was raised at the Aurat March.
Orya Maqbool Jan, a renowned Pakistani journalist on Neo news claimed that the marchers raised a French flag at the Aurat Azadi March in Islamabad. He further added that since the French President committed blasphemy against Islam, raising a French flag is akin to committing blasphemy.
However, the Women Democratic Fund (WDF) rebutted those claims and presented the truth against those allegations. They tweeted a detailed breakdown of how the flag raised at the March was that of WDF and not France’s flag.
Even lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir corroborated WDF’s statement.
A text written on one of the posters at Aurat March Lahore was deemed blasphemous.
The text in conversation was the testimony of a participant, who was sexually assaulted as a child at the hands of a 50-year-old religious cleric.
The Aurat March in Lahore that has been accused of blasphemy issued a detailed statement against the allegations. They explained that the accusations are baseless and did not mean to disrespect Islam or religious figures in any way. The text in the post was rather the testimony of a person who was a victim of sexual abuse as a 9-year-old at the hands of a 50-year-old male religious scholar.
Right now, both sides are alleging against one another; however, going by the number of people who have retracted since, and are apologizing for putting up the fake video, it goes to show that it was indeed doctored.
Anchors from their own experience of falling prey to a doctored video which they’ll admit was a result of irresponsible behaviour & resulted in propagating malicious agenda against #AuratMarch must use their airtime to discuss importance of fact checking & counter this propaganda— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) March 11, 2021
For those of you, who still fail to believe the marchers, here’s a comprehensive commentary addressing the malicious campaign against Aurat March by Shahzeb Khanzada. It sets the record straight for everyone.
What do you think of this whole controversy? Write in the comments below.