07 Feb, 2024

Activists and human rights defenders gathered on Tuesday outside the National Press Club in Islamabad to protest against the February 3 conviction of former prime minister Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi in a case relating to their marriage during the latter’s Iddat period.

“They have written their black verdict with our red blood. You [the courts] have attacked our dignity, our privacy, our bodily autonomy. This is neither the first time nor the last.” She vowed that women will come out and protest the infringement on their rights.

“This is such a shameful judgment,” Yaqoob told Images. “Courts have nothing to do with women’s personal lives, with their menstruation, when they bleed, when they don’t bleed, and how long they bleed. This is very shameful.”

“It’s a woman’s body and only she can tell you what happened with her, when she was on her period, when she was pregnant. This is why we keep saying ‘mera jism, meri marzi’,” activist Farzana Bari told the protesters. The verdict is quite shocking, highly condemnable, patriarchal, anti-women and even anti-human, she said, adding that it will have an impact on both men and women.

She lamented that family laws in Pakistan discriminate against women — men get married four times without even seeking permission of their first wife. “We have to ensure that our family laws are gender-just and a woman’s testimony should be considered conclusive,” she said.

Activist Tahira Abdullah said that women’s bodies have been dragged into politics since the time of General Ziaul Haq, adding that women should be treated as human beings too. “How will we continue encouraging adversity towards women?” she asked.

Farhatullah Babar, the former senator and a member of the PPP, also joined the protest. He remarked that he is a political opponent of Imran Khan, yet he is participating in the protest because of the precedent the verdict it seeks to set. “This is a warning to all future PMs that they won’t just face convictions but also will be publicly humiliated,” he warned.

In their official statement, Aurat March Islamabad said they urge the higher courts to overturn these decisions, “as failure to do so will establish a precedent that could be exploited by a judiciary itself that is historically inclined towards anti-women rulings.”

The statement added that their rallying call Mera Jism, Meri Marzi asserts the “fundamental right of women to make decisions about their bodies and lives, free from coercion or interference.”

Earlier, in a statement on Twitter, Aurat March Islamabad called the verdict “a manifestation of unequal marriage laws that establish men’s superiority and control in marital relationships and reinforce patriarchal control over women’s bodies.”

Women’s Action Forum- Lahore had also expressed its dismay at the verdict in a tweet posted on February 3. It said that the “verdict is an assault on women’s autonomy over their bodies, dignity & privacy, setting dangerous precedent for the state’s intrusion into the private lives of citizens.” The organisation said it “condemn[ed] such patriarchal criminal trials and the dangerous precedents they set for women of this country.”


Pir Raza Shah Feb 07, 2024 12:00pm
No one should be allowed to interfere in private life of females or males. Humans are born free , let them decide their private matters by themselves.
Dr.Zafar Nasir Feb 07, 2024 12:26pm
Nothing will change in our beloved country,the more we try to change, the more it will remain the same. Rather we have started a rot that will take us backward to the era of last of the emperors who ruled the country with iron hand.
Chatterjee Feb 07, 2024 01:04pm
Women should be respected.
Mushtaq Feb 07, 2024 01:09pm
When two adults decide to unite as per their liking, why anybody should have problem ??
Aamir Latif Feb 07, 2024 01:22pm
Purely a non compliance case of iddat prior second marriage, otherwise no fuss... Making a mockery under the garb of mera jism meri marzi is regrettable . Seems these women has nothing else to do
Ahmed Feb 07, 2024 03:04pm
Zero plus zero will always be zero. No value was added by this event or this article.
Tariq Mirza Feb 07, 2024 04:26pm
It is a shameful and regrettable verdict humiliating a pious women to satisfy their political biased opinions. I am not in favour of Imran Khan and his actions during his tenure as the PM, however against this decision and the actions being taken against one political party. History is repeating, same as was done against ZAB and BB.
Malik Javed Feb 07, 2024 05:22pm
Imran Khan is implicated into two hundred cases and can be handed down more punishments if the establishment wants to do so. However this is a unique case where religion is dragged into the politics to prove that he is a bad man, and others are noble and pious people. One who digs a pit for others fall oneself into that. The precedent is set and it will be followed. People who are condemning this act may be few but deserve appreciation for their courage to protest and highlight this malicious litigation. The next CM of the province of Punjab who is a female is silent on this injustice and inhuman treatment rendered to half the population of the this country
Numan Feb 07, 2024 05:36pm
I think these protestors are forgetting the fact that BOTH Imran khan and bushra bibi were sentenced, it wasnt on the whims of any civilian but bushras own husband WITH PROOF. What does this have to do with bodily autonomy when its a legal issue, why couldnt they both wait for the correct prescribed timeline to marry?
Zafar kazmi Feb 07, 2024 05:52pm
Nothing coming out of my beloved country surprises me anymore. Just as has been for a very long time, it saddens me beyond words and continues to approve my decision when 4 decades ago I left the country for a much freer life governed by equal justice for all.
Fawaz Feb 07, 2024 08:40pm
Shameful verdict
Santram Feb 07, 2024 08:43pm
Where is humanity heading for.Everywhere there is violence,sexual assaults,maltreatment of females etc Whole world needs to wake up.
Citizen Feb 08, 2024 12:21am
More shocking is the silence of elite of Pakistan. Imran was right to call this community a scumbag of the country.
Saulat Haider Feb 08, 2024 04:49am
Political and immoral decision.
GettingThere Feb 08, 2024 05:24am
How do we correct all this? On one hand we are a conservative society and insist on ghairat and respect etc.. On the other hand we think it's ok to drag a woman's menstrual cycle in public.. total hypocrisy.
Anas Feb 08, 2024 06:16am
Shah Ji Feb 08, 2024 08:26am
What a bunch of nonsense. All humans are equal in the eyes of the law. Personal matters, when brought in court, will be handled the way personal matters are handled in a clinic, doctor's office, or hospital. Just raising slogans does not mean the interpretation offered is correct. Please explain how this verdict is wrong and how it is going to create the toxic environment you are fake fearing.
Mumtaz Ahmed Shah Feb 08, 2024 09:33am
A well written artical (Texas)
Shah Nawaz Bokhari Feb 08, 2024 12:05pm
excellant elaborate. I also condemn this verdict.
WASEEM MALIK Feb 09, 2024 06:45am
Good work but more such protest are needed to protect women's rights. Fundamental rights are violated anyways on daily basis. Unqualified handlers have destroyed social fabric of Pakistani society.