LHC summons Lahore DC, senior police official in Aurat March case

Shahid Hussain
Aurat March protesters hold placards as they gather to mark the International Womens Day in Islamabad on March 8, 2022. — AFP
Aurat March protesters hold placards as they gather to mark the International Women's Day in Islamabad on March 8, 2022. — AFP

  • Court summons DC Lahore and SP Civil Lines.
  • Citizen seeks permission for conducting march in city.
  • Plea also requests provision of security in march.

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Monday summoned Lahore Deputy Commissioner Rafia Haider and Superintendent of Police (SP) Civil Lines along with their responses tomorrow (March 7) regarding the permission for conducting Aurat March in the city.

The development came during the hearing of plea filed by a citizen seeking permission to organise the Aurat March — a women's rights movement in the country — in Lahore on March 8.

The district administration of Lahore, last week, denied the march organisers permission to hold a public rally.

The local authorities were requested to grant permission for the event, however, the city's DC turned down the requests citing threat alerts from security agencies as the reason.

Justice Anwaar Hussain heard the petition which has also requested the city’s top court to allow organising the march and also provide security to marchers.

In the plea, the citizen mentioned that an application was sent to Lahore DC for Aurat March; however, permission was not granted to hold the annual event commemorating International Women's Day.

After being denied permission, Aurat March's organising committee vehemently condemned the DC in a series of tweets, saying that the NOC was denied due to Jamat-e-Islami's 'Haya March'.

"The DC herself acknowledges that the Jamaat has announced a program against the Aurat March, yet it is the March that is being denied its constitutional right, not the group inciting violence," it noted.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also condemned the Lahore district administration’s move, terming it "regrettable". 

“It is regrettable that their right to peaceful assembly is routinely challenged by the district administration on the grounds that ‘controversial’ placards and ‘strong reservations’ from the public and religious organisations ostensibly create law-and-order risks This is a poor defence," a statement released by the HRCP read.

The commission said that Punjab's caretaker government must uphold the Aurat March’s right to the freedom of peaceful assembly and provide the marchers with full security.