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Pakistan women rally for rights in defiance of religious hardliners

Pakistan women rally for rights in defiance of religious hardliners

dpa
Islamabad
Thousands of Pakistani women rallied across the country on Monday, defying religious hardliners to demand equal rights.
Rallies were organized in all major cities, where thousands of women, men and children marched carrying placards with slogans against sexual harassment, lack of opportunities and injustice.
“We are committed to ensure a secure and enabling environment for women to play their rightful role in our nation’s development,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said on the eve of International Women’s Day marches according to his office.
The Aurat March or Women’s March was founded in the South Asian country in 2018, when women from different walks of life marched through Pakistan’s port city of Karachi demanding equal rights. Since then, there have been annual demonstrations in major cities.
Special security arrangements were made for this year’s march and the organizers made it mandatory for participants to wear face masks and maintain distance due to the coronavirus.
Equal rights, freedom for adults to choose their life partner, an end to forced marriages in the name of culture and religion, and an end to sexual harassment were among the demands of the marchers.
Islamic groups and right-wing political parties oppose these marches because they believe women are only entitled to the rights prescribed within the confines
of Islam.
They accuse participants of being “un-Islamic” or foreign-funded, for example. In 2020, activists were attacked by misogynist extremists on the sidelines of an event in the capital, Islamabad.

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