On Sunday, March 8, 2020, Aurat March was to highlight various issues women are facing in Pakistan; harassment, forced conversions, transgender rape and political rights in society are few to name. Rather it became a spectacle of a mayhem, in which the marchers were welcomed with stone pelting. It was allegedly initiated by JUI-F individuals clad in burqa, however, few are pointing fingers at Aurat march organizers for enacting it to gain attention. However, it is hardly important, Who? Rather more important question is why? Aurat March is a regular feature in Pakistan, then why did it turn violent?
The march is under scrutiny since last few years and one of the main reason is slogans such as “Mera Jism Meri Marzi” and “Lo bhet Gai Thek sy my” or is it?. To find answer to this we need to go back and analyze the role of media, Aurat march organizer and Haya March brigade. Slogans might have turn sharp and more offensive to the likening of Pakistani conservative society. However, the reaction was triggered by a negative media coverage scoping in on slogans rather than on wider woman issues. This time also, while discussing the issue, Marvi Sirmad and Khalil u rehman in a moment of rage forgot they are on air and had a severe meltdown. Need I say more? we will leave it on a note that rest is part of our glorious talk shows history. However, if you delve deep into the issue, you will find that media played a major part in making Aurat march controversial as it promotes cosmetic discussions to increase its viewership rather than have a meaningful debate. The narrative fed by the media has its effect which in a way has led to Haya March.
At the same time, the so-called representatives of Azadi March insisting on controversial slogans only shows that they are not concern about the deeper issues of Pakistani women. It looks more like an effort to antagonize the conservative society on contentious issues. It does not mean that I am ignoring these issues in any way but it can be relegated for a time since we have much bigger issues confronting woman in our society.
Haya march in itself shows that as a society we have failed to understand what Azadi March is and are more concern about few controversial slogans. Irrespective of the reasons, we again put up a show for a world which we can ill afford at this point of time. Current government is striving to improve Pakistan image globally, however, events like these do not help the cause. We as a society needs a deeper understanding of this day and should contribute in a more serious way to make the life of women better in Pakistan. The media rather than fueling the inferno, may also adopt a more responsible approach to avoid future altercations.