Aurat March 2021 poster by Shehzil Malik

Women across Pakistan are taking to the streets in the fourth annual Aurat March to celebrate International Women’s Day. The participants of the march raised slogans for the rights of women and other gender minorities in the country, with a special focus on women’s health issues as this year’s theme. The organisers of the marches across major cities have also stressed adherence to COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPS).

Aurat Azadi March Islamabad will commence at 1 pm today, starting at the Islamabad Press Club. The marchers rallied to defend “women’s right to live a life free from violence and socioeconomic inequality and oppression!”

Aurat March Lahore, scheduled for 2 pm is to end at 6 pm, The participants are marching from the Lahore Press Club to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) building. There is also a designated entry point for differently-abled and old people.

Aurat March Karachi will takes the form of a ‘dharna’ on sit-in this year, in adherence to social distancing measures. The event will commenced at 3 pm at Frere Hall. “Let’s take the patriarchy down together!” the organisers said on their Twitter account. They added: “6 foot ki doori, magar inqilab zaruri,” [Keep a 6-feet distance, but revolution is essential].

The event also focuses on accessibility in collaboration with the NGO NOWPDP, with a separate entrance for differently abled people. Ramps have also been installed to cater to wheelchair users, while sign language interpretors will be present on stage.

Aurat March Quetta took the form of a conference, where participants gatheedr at the Quetta Press Club at 3 pm to speak on women and minority rights issues.

Aurat March Multan started at 2 pm. It initiated from Nawa Shehar Chowk Multan and is to continue till the Press Club. “This year we are fighting patriarchy and Covid-19 simultaneously,” the organisers said. “So wear a mask and sanitise your hands.”

In Hyderabad, Aurat March Sindh has been arranged by feminist and women rights activists from  Hyderabad, Sukkur, and Larkana. Participants will be marching from Shahbaz Building to the Hyderabad Press Club.


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