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Kishwar Naheed’s Criticism of Aurat March Was Highly Misplaced. And The Follow-Up Video Made It Worse

Renowned feminist poet Kishwar Naheed was recently under fire on social media for her remarks against this year’s Aurat March. While addressing a gathering, she criticized certain slogans at the march, saying that feminists need to keep culture and traditions in consideration while demanding rights.

In a video message later released to respond to the criticism directed towards her comments, the writer said that she stands by her statement and that the content of the march should have been ‘respectful’. She added that the representative of modern day feminism would ‘learn’ with time.

Most women rights activists who condemned her remarks on Twitter, stopped short of demonizing the veteran writer. It shows the younger generation of feminists is mature enough to be open to critique.

“It is ironic that Kishwar would make such comments considering that she has herself been on the forefront of feminist struggle in Pakistan”, activist Nida Kirmani told Naya Daur.

The initial video message by Kishwar on the Aurat March was released by leftist activist and writer Taimur Rahman, who has been critical of the Aurat March on grounds that the question of class was not catered to by the organizers.

“It is unfortunate that some men of the left have used Kishwar’s comments about the content of the placards to strengthen their argument that the modern feminism movement in Pakistan does not raise the question of class.”, Nida added.

In response to a question, Nida said such discussions among feminist activists should not happen through men or on social media. “We hope she is open to engaging, because the points she raised can be discussed in a constructive way.”

Nida said it is not true that she is being used by other groups to harm the newly emerged feminist movement in the country. “She has a mind of her own. She should have been careful because her comments advantaged those who have been hostile towards the struggle for women rights in Pakistan.”

Nida further said that the follow-up video by Kishwar gave an impression that she completely disapproves of the march, so engaging her would be an uphill task. “Feminists in Pakistan have other important battles to fight, considering that there has been a massive backlash against the organizers which included serious threats”, she concluded.

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