Thousands of women, who had arrived from different parts of the province, took part in ‘Aurat Azadi March’ that started simultaneously with the bigger and major event held in Karachi to commemorate the International Women’s Day on Sunday.

Several human rights bodies, non-governmental organisations, civil society and political parties took out rallies and organised functions to mark the day.

The march led by Arfana Mallah, Amar Sindhu, Rizwana Memon and others started from Lab-i-Mehran at 3.00pm and reached local press club at 5.00pm after passing through different roads.

The marchers were chanting slogans for freedom of women and against black customs of kari, forced marriages, marriage with Quran, denial of share in properties, domestic torture and sexual harassment at workplace.

Leaders of civil society Riaz Chandio, Ahmed Solangi, Niamat Khuhro, Imdad Chandio, Fayaz Chandio, Taj Joyo, Mahesh Kumar, Shoukat Noonari, Comrade Bakhshal Thalho, Aijaz Malah, Abdul Momin Memon and others, who participated in the march along with their families, demanded justice for lady health workers, regularisation of their jobs and payment of salaries in time.

They demanded that women should not be harassed at workplaces, they be allowed to do their jobs with peace of mind like their male colleagues and their salaries be made equal to male workers.

The administration had made strict security arrangements with deployment of about 400 police personnel under their officers including DSPs and SHOs in 25 mobile vans. Vehicular traffic had been diverted to alternative routes to ensure security for the march.

HYDERABAD: Activists of Sindhiyani Tehreek, Roshni Foundation, Comm­unity Action Group, Sindh Rural Development Organi­sation, Aurat Tahaffuz Movement and Jamni Khawateen Group staged rallies and demonstrations outside local press club to mark the women’s day.

The participants carried placards and banners inscribed with slogans Larkiyon ko taleem do, Taleem hamra haq hey, Aurat ko barabari ka haq do, Ghairat key nam par aurat ka qatal band karo, Aurat ka ehtram karo and mujhay wirasat mey hissa do etc.

Sindhiyani Tehreek focused on underage marriages and anti-women customs and Roshni Foundation called for allocation of quota for women in government jobs and provision of interest free loans to widows, stipend for women and share of women in properties.

The leaders said that they knew Islam had given rights to women and those who were talking about Islam should follow its teachings to ensure equal rights to women.

They criticised Pakistan Peoples Party government for condoning jirga system and other black anti-women customs like ‘wani’.

They said that women had come out to demand their rights. They should be given equal rights, forced conversion should be curbed and women should be imparted education, they said.

LARKANA: Speakers at a programme organised by Sindh United Party’s women front at Abdul Latif Nizamani labour hall to mark the women’s day said that women in remote rural villages were often severely punished for minor and negligible mistakes.

Dr Sabhiya Mughal, chairperson of Khaksar Tehreek Pakistan; Sheeba Mughal, chief organiser of SUP’s ladies wing, Umme Kulsoom Sandano and others expressed concern over growing domestic violence against women and the brutality women faced in villages.

They said that majority of village women worked shoulder to shoulder with men on farmland but unfortunately if they unintentionally committed a mistake, they had to face unabated onslaughts on their character.

They said that such women were insulted by cutting their hair or even completely shaving off their heads, which was in complete contravention of the Constitution and charter of human right.

They called for equality and said that women constituted 52 per cent of the population of the country. When a son could marry a woman of her choice then why not the daughters, they questioned.

They said that people had erred in understanding the meaning of ‘Mera jism meri marzi’ and criticised the black custom of killing women after branding them ‘kari’.

Pakistan Peoples Party women’s wing also held a gathering at Kennedy Market where the party leaders Tasleem Channa, Dr Prih Sakina Gaad, Hassina Bhutto and others called for equality for women who were equally sharing responsibilities with men in society.

The Alnoor Welfare Organisation commemorated the day by holding a mass wedding ceremony where five couples tied the knot.

MITHI: The human rights department celebrated the women’s day in Chitrasarnear village in Nagarparkar where special assistant to chief minister on human rights Veerji Kolhi, MPA Qasim Siraj Soomro, SSP Abdullah Ahmedyar, ADC Syed Kabeer Mohammad Shah, officials, PPP workers and community people stressed the need for giving rights to women.

Originally published in Dawn, March 9th, 2020

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