Smear Campaign against Aurat March 2021

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Source: The Express Tribune

Aurat March 2021

Women organized protests on International Women Day across Pakistan for the fourth consecutive year. These protests took the form of marches, public art displays, and performances to highlight the challenges faced by the women. These protests were held in different big cities of Pakistan and every city chapter of Aurat March wrote their separate manifestos. 

Lahore’s manifesto concentrated on women’s healthcare.

Karachi’s manifesto centered on gender-based violence inflicted upon women, transgender, and non-binary people.

Islamabad focused on issues ranging from healthcare, economic justice, and patriarchal violence to disability justice and the climate change crisis.

A few days before the Aurat March, social media trends against it began going viral. Some called it a foreign-funded campaign and promoting Western agendas. Some said that it was contrary to religious beliefs and that women already had rights in Islam. The right-wing organizations started a campaign against it calling ‘Haya March’ and their slogan was Familialism, not Feminism.

Media coverage of the Aurat March is usually limited to showing only selective placards and slogans just to disparaging the movement. Instead of reading and promoting the rally’s demands, they just get upset overs posters and placards brought to protest. Many people started propaganda against Aurat March by spreading disinformation in form of videos and posters. Instead of talking about the rights of women and transgender, people are still busy spreading disinformation against the movement. 

A clip has been gone viral on different social media sites which shows the participants of the protest chanting slogans of blasphemous nature. The footage has been doctored and the original video appeared on The Express Tribune Life and Style Facebook page during live coverage of the event taking place at Frere Hall said that the claim is false. 

The well-known lawyer, Muhammad Jibran Nasir, also shared the original video with correct subtitles on his Twitter.

Some images went viral showing the French flag and people accused it of a foreign agenda and against Islam. The women carrying flag in Aurat March which purple, white and red stripes was the flag of the Women Democratic Front. The French flag is blue white and red and the WDF flag is purple white and red.  

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The images and videos spread like wildfire on social media, aimed to smear the women’s rights movement. The people first should read the demands (not only selective placards and posters) of the protests uploaded on real pages of Aurat March and then talk about them and then decide to agree to disagree with the movement. The March is just more than the posters and placards that went viral.

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