March 8th, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
Distancing the federal government from calls made by Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri for banning Aurat Marches, State Minister for Information Farukh Habib said no such ban was ever under consideration.
“We have no objection to anyone expressing their opinions on the International Day for Women,” Habib told host Munizae Jahangir in her Spotlight show on March 7 while answering a question about whether the government was to clamp down on Aurat Marches after Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri wrote to the prime minister about banning such women’s protests.
“The federal government is celebrating the women’s day too and the prime minister is attending such function regarding succession certificates on the day in Islamabad,” the state minister said.
He said the government has been working towards women’s empowerment and had also passed the landmark anti-rape legislation in this regard. “The expression of one’s opinion should not lead to hurting sentiments of others as per demands of freedom of expression and the Constitution,” he added.
“There is no ban on any protests or demonstrations provided it remained peaceful and entails no violence,” Habib elaborated. Asked about the opinion of the prime minister to Qadri’s letter, the state minister clarified that neither a decision was made nor any matter was under consideration by the federal government to ban women’s demonstrations.
In a letter that he had written to the Prime Minister, Qadri expressed his disapproval of the women’s day activities and requested that instead the day should be marked ‘International Hijab Day’.