Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday turned down a petition challenging the proposed Women’s March in Islamabad and other parts of the country.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah in an eight-page verdict, however, said the court expected the Aurat March would exercise its constitutional right in accordance with the law having regard to conduct that is consistent with norms of society.
Earlier, the court reserved its verdict on maintainability of the petition.
Aurat March or “Women’s March” is scheduled for Sunday, March 8, in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and other cities.
During the hearing Justice Minallah asked the counsel for eight petitioners why he was opposing the march, when according to the organisers it was for the rights of the women in society and would remain strictly within the parameters of the law.
The counsel replied that the march was against Islamic values and moral ethos of Pakistani culture. He also drew the attention of the court to the ‘vulgar’ slogan “My Body, My Choice” and a couple of others. “How can you call them vulgar when the organisers of the march have given a different interpretation,” asked the judge.
The petitioners have appealed to the court to regulate activities like the Aurat March “subject to law, norms, decency and public morality in the best interest of justice and to order the respondents to perform their obligatory duties towards the Constitution and the law of land and restrain from unlawful, unconstitutional and un-Islamic activities forthwith.”
The counsel for the petitioners said he didn’t have any objection to the women seeking their rights. He had problem with the slogans and language used on the banners to be displayed during the march.
Justice Minallah told the counsel that he was seeking action against an event that had not even taken place. “Your petition is premature,” the judge remarked adding, these slogans are for rights that are not given to women. The federal government and the chief commissioner of Islamabad were also made respondents in the petition filed by eight citizens.
During the hearing, the court also referred to a press conference by the organisers of the march and said they wanted to enforce the rights given to women in the constitution.