Aurat March 2019 held in Pakistan's major cities

Haseem uz Zaman

KARACHI: The Aurat March 2019 took place in all major cities of Pakistan today (Friday) commemorating the International Women's Day.

The primary Aurat March 2019 event commenced at 3:30PM in Karachi at the famed Frere Hall, where women, trans, and non-binary folks then took to the Abdullah Haroon Road to participate in the main rally. The march concluded at 6:30PM.

Apart from Karachi, various other groups of civil rights activists participated in Aurat Marches in Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Mardan.

The Aurat March 2019 comprised numerous activities, including speeches, performances, and a major act — which, last year, was the "funeral of patriarchy".

Prior to the Aurat March 2019, people on Twitter posted their reasons to attend the event under the hashtag #WhyIMarch.

Organisers of the Aurat March 2019 also shared guidelines as to where participants could find the help desk, what to do in an emergency, and how the event and its management had a "zero-tolerance policy on harassment and violence".

"Bring solidarity for other struggles, so we can collectively raise our voice against oppression and injustice," they urged.

A guide to digital safety, in case of cyber harassment during or post-Aurat March, was also shared for the convenience of the activists and supporters.

Earlier on Thursday night, Geo News' talk show host Shahzeb Khanzada also spoke about the Aurat March, urging everyone to join the huge and highly-anticipated feminist event.

"The basic rights that men enjoy for themselves, they have to let women enjoy those too," he said.

"We should all participate to demand, in one voice, equality for everyone, opportunities for everyone, and basic rights for everyone; underscore that injustice towards anyone remains injustice and that oppressors, regardless of who they are, remain oppressors; and that gender doesn’t give anyone a free pass," he added.

Khanzada also mentioned on his show the demands of the Aurat March, saying it "demands proper labour laws, justice and equality in the society, lawmaking against gender-based violence, implementation of anti-harassment laws, criminalization of slut-shaming, steps towards equal pay for everyone, equal social and political opportunities for women, trans, and non-binary folk, safety of religious minorities, and lawmaking against honour killing and child marriages.