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Why is Aurat March Considered Controversial in Pakistan?


Women’s Day is around the corner and on this day every year, many people of the country take to the streets and raise their voices against injustice against women. The injustice may include violence and harassment of all kinds, biases, security issues, access to education, child labor, domestic workers’ rights, healthcare, discrimination, inequality, and much more which are the basic rights of any human being. This movement is called the ‘Aurat March’. However, in Pakistan, this march has been the subject of controversy and criticism, with many conservative elements viewing it as a threat to traditional values and societal norms.

Aurat March is conducted to enlighten people and help change attitudes. It peacefully takes place every year on March 8 and draws the attention of many. The idea of this march is wider than people’s thinking, it also encompasses transgender rights and questions law and order that doesn’t protect the innocent, but instead allows criminals to roam free.

Many families do not allow their women to participate in the march because they believe it spreads hatred and vulgarity. But why is it made controversial in Pakistan?

One of the main reasons is that it challenges traditional gender roles and patriarchal norms. Pakistan is a conservative country where gender inequality is deeply rooted, and many people view women’s activism as a threat to the status quo. Women face discrimination and violence in many areas of their lives, including in the workplace, in education, and even at home. Many conservative groups in Pakistan view the Aurat March as an insult to traditional values and a threat to the social order.

The Aurat March, with its emphasis on women’s rights and equality, challenges this patriarchal system and has faced resistance from traditionalists. The resistance reached the extent that in 2022 Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noor-ul-Haq Qadri wrote a letter to then prime minister Imran Khan to ban this march as she considered it to be a threat to the religious and cultural values of Pakistan.

The march is also considered controversial as it is criticized for being a “Western” import that is not compatible with Pakistani culture and values. Some conservative elements view the march as a product of Western feminism and accuse its participants of being influenced by “Western” values that are antithetical to Pakistan’s traditional culture and religious beliefs.

Another reason Aurat March is considered controversial is that the participants are accused of using provocative slogans and symbols during the march. Some of the slogans used in the Aurat March have been criticized for being vulgar, obscene, or offensive to religious sensibilities. However, these are some of the countless posters that are highlighted on social media to spark controversy. The bigger picture and the cause are completely different from disrespectful slogans and offensive language.

It is important to understand that this movement is not about taking revenge against men or belittling the opposite gender. It is about raising awareness for men, women, transgender, and children. It is about educating them to take a stand for themselves and speak against injustice. It is about bringing up strong women who are aware of their rights, who can smash the deep-rooted misogyny, and who do not hesitate to defy the societal norms that are meant to suppress them in any way.

The Aurat March is a controversial event in Pakistan that challenges traditional gender roles, patriarchal standards, and conservative values. While the march has succeeded in raising awareness about women’s rights and promoting gender equality, it has also faced resistance and criticism from conservative elements who see it as a threat to traditional values and cultural norms. Despite these challenges, the Aurat March has continued to grow in popularity and has become a symbol of women’s empowerment and activism in Pakistan.


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