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LHC Says Aurat March Cannot Be Stopped, Orders Govt To Provide Security

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Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday disposed-of a petition seeking permanent ban on Aurat March. The LHC judge hearing the case said that the constitution of Pakistan guarantees freedom of association, adding that the rally taking place on March 8 could not be stopped.

He directed the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to provide security and protection to all the marchers, who would take to the streets on the coming Saturday. The judge further directed the government authorities to issue No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the organisers of Aurat March ‘as soon as possible’.

On Thursday, LHC Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, while hearing the petition against Aurat March had said that no ban could be imposed on the freedom of expression. Azhar Siddiqui, a local lawyer had filed the petition seeking a permanent ban on the upcoming Aurat March for being ‘un-Islamic and anti-state’.

Aurat March 2020 will be held across Pakistan on March 8 to mark International Women’s Day. The organisers have claimed to be receiving threats but vowed to hold the march, come what way. Last week, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman had urged his followers to stop Aurat March, on grounds that it would promote ‘vulgarity’. His statement was criticised by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders, who said that the party would resist every move that aims to stop the march.

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