Who is behind the ‘Aurat March’ (Women’s March) in Pakistan?

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Crescent International

Rajab 13, 1441 2020-03-08

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

March 8 is observed worldwide as Women’s Day.

There is little doubt that almost everywhere in the world, women are mistreated and abused.

In Pakistan, the ‘Aurat March’ (Women’s March) this year has become a hot topic of discussion.

A leading light of the march is a woman named Marvi Sarmed.

She does not enjoy a very good reputation among the vast majority of people because of her vulgar language liberally sprinkled with four letter words.

The tweets that she fires at critics are ample proof of her mindset, laced as they are with words like “f**k”.

But is she and her ilk really interested in women’s rights—a very noble cause—or she is pursuing someone else’s agenda?

To understand Pakistan’s social environment, we must bear in mind that many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been established to promote the West’s agenda.

Western governments provide ample funding to such NGOs.

Under the guise of promoting women’s rights, what is being pushed is vulgarity and nudity.

Take the poster for this year’s ‘Aurat March’.

It is distasteful and vulgar, something the overwhelming majority of women in Pakistan do not accept.

Yet the BBC came out swinging in support of the march and its slogans and posters with the provocative headline: ‘Aurat March: Pakistani women face violent threats ahead of rally.”

The rallying cry for last year's march, “mera jism, meri marzi” (‘my body, my choice’), in particular touched a raw nerve in a country where the overwhelming majority of people hold values of modesty.

Most people see the slogan as obscene, having a sexual connotation and the movement pursuing the West’s agenda. They reject these women's Western driven agenda being promoted and imposed on the broader society.

Despite siding with the marchers, the BBC was forced to admit, quoting organisers that they “acknowledge the slogans and signs are provocative, but they argue that’s what is needed when you are trying to change social norms.”

Is vulgarity the only route to bring about change?

It should also be borne in mind that the few women leading the ‘Aurat March’ belong to the elite class of Pakistan.

If they are serious about women’s rights, they should start in their own homes.

These elite women have an army of servants, many of them poor women, whom they treat as slaves.

Domestic servants are forced to work long hours and given leftover food.

If the servants live on the premises, they do not sleep under the same roof.

They live in what is referred to as the “servants’ quarter”—a single room with no heating and more critically, no air-conditioning in the sweltering heat of Pakistan.

The servants also have their separate toilet. Apartheid South Africa would have been proud of such arrangements.

These Pakistani women take their inspiration from the US.

Let us take a quick look at the plight of women in the US and consider whether they would like to be treated in a similar manner.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “Nearly 1 in 5 women (18.3%) and 1 in 71 men (1.4%) have been raped in their lifetime (by any perpetrator),” in the United States.”

Additionally, “more than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.”

To get a better sense of the magnitude of the problem, “from 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female,” according to the US National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The tiny minority of Westernized women in Pakistan leading the ‘Aurat march’ crusade should consider whether they would like to be treated in the same manner.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of people in Pakistan—both men and women—do not want to follow the Western-driven agenda pursued by these women.

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