As expected, there has been immense decry from religiously motivated and culturally charged leading clerks of the country in an effort to halt Aurat March from taking place, deeming it contrary to religious injunctions and the patriarchal cultural fabric of the society. The misogynistic fervour which was earlier found on streets has made its way to the state apparatus of the country.

Minister for Religious Affairs, Noor ul Haq Qadri wrote to the PM asking him to forbid the march. It seems that the state has no problems with people who come on the streets every year, kill policemen, freeze economic activity and terrorize all and sundry. It neither has any problem with rallies that block national highways just in a bid to make their political demand accepted nor does it have any problem with violent militias. The country’s security is at high risk, cultural values are at decay, religion is at stake, only when a handful of women come on the road with postering in hand demanding rights that are already enshrined in the Constitution and many of which are part of Islamic Teachings.

JUI-F went even farther than Mr Qadri and said they would use batons if they had to, in order to stop the march. It is indeed a grave situation for the state and its people that a political faction can publicly proclaim of beating half of a country’s population just because they are demanding their rights. Secondly, Mr Qadri’s comment makes us lament the current mindset of people in the office.

Pakistan is the fourth most dangerous country for women, brimming with vicious tribal and cultural practices of femicide, lacking legislation even to protect women from household abuse. Public money should be spent on the betterment of women. The state must also take steps against any person who assaults or insults half of the population of the country - women by asserting to beat them. The legitimate right of violence should only rest with the State.

MUHAMMAD SHARIF OTHO,

Sobhodero.