Organisers allowed to hold Aurat March today – 08 Mar 2023

LAHORE: After successful negotiations between Aurat March organisers and the city administration, the Lahore High Court on Tuesday allowed the Women`s Day event while directing the former to ensure that no objectionable slogan or unlawful activity talces place during the march.

Rights activists Khawar Mumtaz, Leena Ghani and Hiba Akbar had filed a petition against the denial of a permission by the Lahore administration to hold the Aurat March outside Nasser Bagh.

Appearing before the court, Deputy Commissioner Rafia Haider and police officials apprised JusticeAnwaar Hussain that the permission had been denied in light of security concerns expressed by district intelligence committee.

The deputy commissioner said the police were already occupied due to security arrangements for the Pakistan Super League being held inthe Qaddafi Stadium.

The judge questioned the political gatherings in the city despite the security concerns stated by the government. He said the police were always ready to spring into action whenever a political personality appeared before the courts.The deputy commissioner said a law and order situation was created during the last year Aurat March.

A law officer said the march could be held outside Lahore Press Club.

Justice Hussain observed that the administration was responsible to maintain law and order. He also advised the march organisers to actresponsibly and cooperate with the administration.

While observing that every year such issues were taken to courts, the judge directed the city administration to sit with the petitioners and come up with an agreed plan. He resumed hearing at 2pm when both sides came up after a successful dialogue.

Deputy Commissioner Haider and the organisers told the court that the march would commence from Nadra office at Shimla Hill to Faletti`s Hotel on March 8 (today) at 2pm.

Subsequently, the judge set asidethe impugned order of the administration, with the observation that the peaceful and lawful activities could not be prohibited.

The judge also directed the Aurat March organisers to ensure that no objectionable statements or slogans or any unlawful activity occurred during the activity.

Advocate Asad Jamal and LHC Bar Association Secretary Sabahat Rizvi appearedon behalfofthe petitioners.

The counsel stated the deputy commissioner dismissed an application of the petitioners and prohibited them along with thousands of women from holding a lawful and peaceful Aurat March on the International Women`s Day.

He argued the impugned order of the DC was an arbitrary and colourable exercise of power and in clear violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed in the Constitution. He said the fundamental right of lawful assembly of the petitioners could not be denied unless it infringed upon the other citizens`right.

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