The organizers and participants of Islamabad’s Aurat March have been charged with blasphemy by police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital.
The lawsuit was filed after a local citizen, Ibrar Hussain Advocate, filed a complaint with a local court against the march’s organizers and participants on March 8, this year.
Last month, five Peshawar-based lawyers headed by Hussain filed a petition with the court of additional district and sessions judge Syed Shaukat Ali Shah demanding the registration of a case against the Aurat March Islamabad organizers and participants.
The FIR was filed in accordance with Sections 295 A and 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
According to Section 295-A of the Pakistan Penal Code, “deliberate and malicious actions designed to enrage religious sentiments of any community by undermining its faith or religious beliefs.
Whoever, with the deliberate and malicious intent of outraging the religious sentiments of any class of Pakistani people, insults the faith or religious values of that class by language, either spoken or written, or by obvious depictions, shall be punished with imprisonment of any description for a period that may stretch to ten years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 295-C, on the other hand, deals with the ‘use of insulting remarks, etc., in regard of the Holy Prophet (PBUH): Whoever, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
In 2018, Pakistan’s feminism campaign morphed into the ‘Aurat March,’ which is essentially similar to International Women’s Day. The March debates in Pakistan are never-ending, with demonstrators asking that the country’s profoundly entrenched patriarchy be addressed.