ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President Shahzada Zulfikar and Secretary General Nasir Zaidi have condemned the threats against organisers and participants of the Aurat March to be held on International Women’s Day.
In a joint statement the PFUJ leaders said the threats raise grave concerns regarding the fundamental rights of citizens, particularly women and gender minorities and amount to hate speech against women’s rights advocates.
The PFUJ leaders said weaponisation of hate speech and courts to impede the constitutional right to assembly of marchers, is contrary to the principles that any democracy should uphold.
They reminded that the Aurat March is part of a proud tradition of women’s rights movements in Pakistan, women have been celebrating International Women’s Day for generations and PFUJ stands in solidarity with the women of Pakistan in their legitimate struggle for women’s rights.
The PFUJ urged the government to ensure that the marchers are provided necessary security to exercise their constitutional right to hold a peaceful and safe march.
It is imperative that freedom of expression of the marchers is protected, and not subject to arbitrary standards of decency and propriety. In a society where there are limited avenues for women to express their demands, aspirations and grievances, the expression of participants of the Aurat March should enjoy full constitutional protections, the PFUJ said.