Here are six stories about why people march from this year's Aurat March you need to hear

Words from a mother with an infant, a khawaja sira, a woman with polio, a father, a doctor from Fata and a Gujjar Nala resident.
Updated 10 Mar, 2022

The Aurat March is held every year on International Women's Day and takes a stand for all women. It calls to everyone who wants to join the cause and attracts a range of individuals who show up to champion their own rights, the rights of women they know or love or just women in general. Just like the people, the causes that drive people to the march are also very diverse.

Here are six stories Images was told at the march that we think you should hear.

The mother with an infant

I was undecided till this morning whether I would attend or not but today when the news broke that a seven-day old infant was killed by her own father then I thought when the right to live isn't granted, it's worth fighting for.

A doctor from Fata

I'm here because I've seen in Fata that women are really restricted. I've come so far to Karachi for education — I'm here for my post-graduation, I'm a doctor — [because] I have the freedom to do so, I can go anywhere. But our sisters, our society in Fata, that system won't allow them to come here because it's built in a certain way. I want women to have the same liberty to come here the way I had and work for their country's progress. We have ignored 50 per cent of our population.

Secondly, over there young girls who are 16 or 17 get married off in par with the Malik Rivaj system in Fata. Her brother commits a crime, like murder and instead of him, his sister has to be sacrificed — she's pulled into it. The older men who are at a higher status marry the young girl who is only 16 or 17 and doesn't know anything. I want to see this system abolished. I've come here because I want our system changed.

Note: The doctor is referring to the Malik Riwaj system, which was part of a now defunct law empowering village or family elders to make decisions for, arbitrate and punish tribes. Though the law no longer exists, the system is still followed in many parts of the former tribal areas.

A woman with polio

My name is Saima and my disability is polio. I'm here with TWA and we're protesting because like the rights of regular women are being spoken for, I want us to have our rights vocalised too. Women with disabilities are pushed back and we want space to move forward as well, [and for] our rights to be [verbalised].

A feminist father

Why am I marching? I am here for my daughter, my wife, my mother and all of you. This thing is already present in society. The forces of nature have shaped it, we've denied it. We're here at the march to erase this denial.

A Gujjar Nala resident

My name is Sonia Arif and we're here at Aurat March today. We're from the Gujjar Nala and our houses have been demolished. Women face a lot of problems over there — there's no gas, electricity or water, there's nothing, no ease. Women take care of the house, they play the main role and we have no kitchens or bathrooms, there is no facility. So today we're here to fight for our right and highlight our voices.

Someone who identifies as khawaja sira

My name is Arzo, I've come to the Aurat March and just like women feel, we feel the same way and we want the issues they're addressing addressed for us as well because they are the same. We don't want to upset anyone, we want to step ahead and take this cause forward together so that in the coming years, we don't have to face much trouble.

This is my request to you, an appeal that whoever comes here, know that there is no such issue with the chants, so please don't create one. We are requesting you to cooperate with us.