How Fanatics Attacked Aurat March With Impunity As Police Watched Silently
Islamabad: Aurat March participants in the capital city are sharing shocking accounts of how they came under attack by affiliates of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Lal Masjid on Sunday.
— Tariq Wardak (@tariqwardk) March 9, 2020
Pelting stones by miscreants on peaceful protestors of #AuratMarch is outrageous, reprehensible & shameful. Entire msg of the March was accepting, respecting & acknowledging rights of other's despite disagreement
Extremes to the right & to the left of any ideology is always wrong
— Saliha (@marzi_c_hai) March 9, 2020
The attack took place when the march was about to end. ‘Haya March’, a counter-protest against the Aurat March was staged near the same venue, whose participants were allegedly among the attackers. A cloth partition installed by the police to protect the participants was removed by the assailants. The sticks-wielding extremists barged into the march and attacked the participants with stones, bricks and shoes. A number of participants including one of the organisers, Awami Workers Party (AWP) leader Ismat Shahjahan, was injured in the attack. Ismet received injuries on her head.
Why was the ‘counter-protest’ allowed in the first place?
It is being questioned as to why the law enforcement agencies let extremist individuals (who had expressed their desire to stop the Aurat March by force) hold their gathering in the first place. The Haya March did not have a no objection certificate (NOC), but it did not face any hurdles or restriction. The organisers of the Aurat March, however had to negotiate with the officials for weeks to get the NOC, which also came with unnecessarily strict conditions. The capital city’s administration certainly has a lot to answer about the untoward incident which could have clearly been avoided had they acted on time.
On 8th March, women all over the world celebrate International Women’s Day. How does Haya March come into this? Why did authorities divide it into right wing & left wing? Why were men allowed to take down tents & throw stones? @ImranKhanPTI @ArifAlvi take notice, punish culprits.
— Nosheen Saeed (@stickwithchick) March 8, 2020
I strongly condemn the pelting of stones,batons & slippers by members of JUI & Laal Masjid. They attacked women, kids, elderly and men alike. But mostly women. @dcislamabad needs to clarify how they were allowed to protest in such numbers without a NOC in the first place. #shame pic.twitter.com/LtPRf1vKcs
— Faryal Haque Nawaz (@Faryalhaque) March 8, 2020
As the violence continued to spread throughout the march, the police acted as a silent spectator. Large bricks were thrown at the participants, and the police failed to stop the assailants. The police’s failure to protect the participants of the Aurat March shows they were ill-prepared to provide security to the march despite Islamabad High Court (IHC)’s orders for the same.
Participants’ refusal to cow down even after being attacked
Social media users have praised the courage displayed by the organisers of the march who continued to chant slogans after the attack. Tooba Syed, an organiser of the march, addressed the participants following the attack and vowed to continue the march.
@AuratAzadiMarch At the D-Chowk today at the end of the Aurat March at Islamabad.
Our March was attacked but everyone remained steadfast and continued on the alternative route provided to us. pic.twitter.com/GsbSCaJ9iF
— Saira Mehreen Abbasi (@Saira_M_Abbasi) March 8, 2020
Aurat March in Islamabad continued despite being marred by stone-pelting incident that left several people injured and saw the arrest of a burka-clad man… – @geonews_english https://t.co/llEe0U6uTo #AuratAzadiMarch #WomensDay #Pakistan https://t.co/S4GI0fkDzv
— beena sarwar (@beenasarwar) March 8, 2020