Tuesday, March 07, 2023
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Deadlock ends: Aurat March organisers, DC decide venue for rally in Lahore

March to take place from NADRA office at Shimla Pahari to a local hotel, between 2pm and 6pm

Women and men carry signs as they take part in Aurat March in Lahore on March 8, 2020. — Reuters
Women and men carry signs as they take part in Aurat March in Lahore on March 8, 2020. — Reuters 

  • LHC says no "controversial statement" to be uploaded on social media.
  • No action against Constitution during the march: court.
  • Organisers to take responsibility that there is no rioting, court says.


LAHORE: Deputy Commissioner (DC) Lahore Rafia Haider and Aurat March organisers on Tuesday unanimously agreed on the time and venue for this year’s rally.

The development came after the Lahore High Court (LHC) directed the two parties to finalise a location for the march by 2pm today (Tuesday) during the hearing of a plea filed by a citizen seeking permission to organise the march in Lahore on March 8.

Following the instructions of Justice Anwaar Hussain, the organisers of the march and the DC held a meeting and came to the agreement that the rally would take place from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office at Shimla Pahari to a local hotel, the court was informed.

It was also decided that the march would take place from 2pm to 6pm.

The court then instructed the organisers of the Aurat March that “no controversial statement will be uploaded on the social media accounts of Aurat March administration”, adding that there should also be no action taken against the Constitution of Pakistan during the march.

The hearing

During the hearing earlier today, the court ordered both parties to hold consultations to decide on a venue.

The Lahore deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police (SP) Civil Lines appeared in the court.

Justice Hussain heard the petition and said that these matters are brought to the court every single time.

An image of the route of the Aurat March in Lahore on March 8. — GoogleMaps
An image of the route of the Aurat March in Lahore on March 8. — GoogleMaps 

The DC said that this time they were requested to grant permission to hold the march at Nasir Bagh. "PSL is also taking place and hence, the teams also travel," she added.

"Why are public gatherings taking place then?" questioned Justice Hussain.

The court remarked that the police become active when a political leader makes an appearance. DC Haider said that a clash took place last year during Aurat March.

"You cannot stop them from organising Aurat March," remarked the LHC. The public prosecutor suggested that the march could be held outside the press club.

The court remarked that the administration is directed to maintain the law and order situation in the city. It added that the organisers of the march should also take responsibility so that there would be no riots.

"The DC's notification refusing to give permission for the event is not valid," said the court.

"When political parties hold public gatherings, they also consult with the administration," it added.

The court then directed both parties to mutually decide on a venue and inform the court by 2pm.

Deadlock

It is pertinent to note here that 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.

Following the deadlock, a petition was filed in the LHC seeking permission to hold the march.