Minister's request to celebrate Hijab Day on Women's Day sparks backlash on Pakistani Twitter

Minister's request to celebrate Hijab Day on Women's Day sparks backlash on Pakistani Twitter

People say his request shows how little people know about women's problems and why they march.
19 Feb, 2022

Every year women march for their fundamental rights on March 8 and every year the Aurat March faces resistance from people refusing to even comprehend what the movement stands for. Instead, they brand it 'immodest' and twist the meaning of the words on the placards to suit their own misconceptions. This year, Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri requested the prime minister to celebrate Hijab Day on March 8.

“We all accept that Islam offers a complete code of life and there is no alternative to it. Any group, under the banner of Aurat March or any other title, on the occasion of upcoming International Women's Day on March 8, should not be allowed to ridicule Islamic values, societal norms, hijab or modesty as such acts hurt the sentiments of Muslims in the country," the minister wrote in his request.

Netizens have taken to Twitter to voice their disagreement with the minister's request, questioning why Hijab Day should be celebrated instead of Women's Day in a country that is majority Muslim and where the hijab sees no opposition. Senator Sherry Rehman wrote, "How is the right to wear a hijab under threat in Pakistan? Quite the opposite. He can celebrate hijab any day; one doesn’t exclude the other."

This user simply called it "absurd" saying this proved "how little they know about women’s problems and why they march."

This user stressed that this is only a "diversion" since there is no opposition to hijab in Pakistan.

"Why does everyone think women in Aurat March are against hijab or hijabis? Because I am one of them and I or anyone I know from the whole protest has never spoken against it," one woman said on Twitter. Her point stands — the march is attended by women who wear the hijab as well and definitely isn't anti-hijab.

"There's no 'one way' of empowering women," a user said, clarifying that whether a woman decides to observe hijab or not is her choice and both choices are okay and supported.

It's about a woman's choice. It's that simple.

Users called the minister's request "counterproductive", saying it will have negative repercussions. Some said the request was indicative of a desire to control women. Others argued that it was an attempt to effectively silence women and stop them from raising their valid concerns.

March 8 is a UN-designated international day that aims to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”. This is a critical juncture in history, when women’s rights movements are gathering momentum not only in Pakistan but around the world in the wake of increasing gender-based crime and injustice.

The problem people have with the minister's request and opinion is not that they are anti-hijab — the hijab deserves to be celebrated as well — but that he is detracting from the point women are trying to make. No one is trying to put down the hijab or "ridicule Islamic values" by marching for women's rights. Women use the Aurat March and Women's Day in general to air their concerns about problems they face and to detract from the movement and slap labels of vulgarity or immodesty on it just takes away from the point women are trying to make.

And if the minister wanted to celebrate Hijab Day, he should have done something on the actual World Hijab Day — February 1.


1000 Characters
Shaun Feb 19, 2022 12:00pm
The Minister is an Idiot.
Eb Raar Feb 19, 2022 12:33pm
The main bone of contention in Pakistan is the level of extreme narratives -- of both -- the so-called molvis as well as the so-called liberals.. On the contrary, Islam teaches us MYANA-RAVI -- aka the middle-ground..
Ahmed Feb 19, 2022 01:05pm
Take twitter(wall of a public toilet) and no one will know the people mentioned in this article. Their opinions don't matter. Can anyone please tell one thing that aurat march has achieved till now? Anything at all?
Anonymouseee Feb 19, 2022 01:12pm
These twitteratis fail to understand that such movement garner international attention, and hijab/abaya are indeed under threat all over the world. Besides, the last aurat marches have indeed exposed some indecency, where we like to admit or not.
Rehanullah Khan Feb 19, 2022 01:17pm
no offence but I think the backlash is 'against' the march instead of being against the minister.
Naseer. A Feb 19, 2022 01:29pm
leave the women's matters to women. hijab has nothing to do with men, they don't wear it.
TZaman Feb 19, 2022 01:42pm
Societal norms is not part of religion.
Rana Talukdar Feb 19, 2022 01:48pm
Taliban has outsourced their Rule on Pakistan to PTI.
Rana Talukdar Feb 19, 2022 01:50pm
@Ahmed "..Can anyone please tell one thing that aurat march has achieved till now? Anything at all?" I am telling you, women r coming out to complaint against honor rape and other domestic violence openly now a days.
Imran Feb 19, 2022 01:57pm
Pakistan is in able hands of religion minister.
Nnn123 Feb 19, 2022 01:59pm
@Ahmed why are you anti women. The constitution gives right of assembly. If other political party has the right to assembly than women should too. If you want to condemn than you should condemn TLP who destroyed government property, put allegations on pm, army chief and president. Tlp killed police officers too.
Taimur Feb 19, 2022 02:18pm
This minister speaks what current PM thinks
Zameera Rihai Feb 19, 2022 02:57pm
Why this particular day need to be celebrated as hijab day while majority women follow decent dress code. Its an attepmt to tell a particular group that they are not modest or following Islam. And these mullahs will decide who is on right path and who is going to jahanum. Such a pity that 8th March has become a biggest threat for patriarchal mindset
Fast comment Feb 19, 2022 02:59pm
Let the Women’s Day and Hijab Day, two separate events. This time the women participating in Women’s Day are expected to support Hijab women in particular and supporting freedom to choice of dressing. The importance of Hijab which in fact is an protective apron to save from Covid or viruses cannot be denied. There shouldn’t be any restrictions on hijab until Covid is totally eliminated.
Tadka Feb 19, 2022 04:24pm
Ahhh. The bigotry begins
Shahzad Feb 19, 2022 05:01pm
In Pakistan only women from a certain class participate in the so called women march, which is more of an entertainment rather then raising the genuine problems of the women As long as this class is holding the reins of this march, it vl remain an entertainment
Yann Feb 19, 2022 05:34pm
This is one of the misuse of Islam by pakistanis for their political purposes.
TenJee Feb 19, 2022 06:23pm
Aurat March again shows its own intolerance of other peoples' rights to protest. If anyone had proposed non-Hijab march these people would be all for it. Aurat March has significant elements that are 100% against the tenets of Islam, and what we see is the thin end of the wedge.
Mrs.khalil Feb 19, 2022 06:32pm
Wearing hijab , it should be a personal choice. There are much more important issues, Minister should focus on that. Aurat March and hijab day , both are not acceptable , for majority of the society.
Ahmed Feb 19, 2022 07:27pm
@Rana Talukdar that's because of meetoo. Not aurat march
Ahmed Feb 19, 2022 07:28pm
@Nnn123 I've condemned TLP wherever I can. Please answer my question. Bring against aurat march isn't being against women. Stop making strawman arguments
Truth be told Feb 19, 2022 08:04pm
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:104] Can be achieved with words and without violence and illogical chanting from both sides.
Al Athar Feb 19, 2022 10:01pm
Qadri is misogynistic, pure and simple.
Sajjad Feb 19, 2022 11:14pm
Minister should address issues like molestation done by Clerics in seminaries and at homes.
M. Saeed Feb 20, 2022 12:28am
Noor ul Haq literally means the Light of the Creator. Is this what light he gets from the Creator?
SKF Feb 20, 2022 01:18am
He is right..
Prof. Habib A. Zuberi Feb 20, 2022 01:27am
I am one of those who believe in equal rights for all men and women. However,there are few things that only women can do. They need to pay more attention to their children...they often breast feed them etc. They do it not because there are State Laws etc, but because they do it on their own. No laws are needed to define how family members should behave. There are family tradtions and most famlies tend to follow.
Rehana Bounse Feb 20, 2022 04:04am
@Anonymouseee no the hijab/ abaya are not under threat in most of the world. Why scared of Aurat March? The women as citizens of Pakistan have the right to march & protest. This is done in all the democratic countries of the World.
Rehana Bounse Feb 20, 2022 04:07am
@Shahzad because the other certain class is not allowed to participate by the “men” in their families. Get it!
ss Feb 20, 2022 04:39am
Its a shame to give him the position of minister, this only reflect poor for the rest of cabinet members.
M. Emad Feb 20, 2022 08:42am
''International Hijab Day'' also not a bad idea for Pakistan.
A One Feb 20, 2022 07:27pm
All the social media posts comment8ng on the call for Hijab Day celebration clearly indicate most of them are afraid that they may hurt the sentiments of the minister!!