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Friday, July 19, 2024

What do Pakistani lawmakers think of ‘Mera Jisam, Meri Marzi’?

Pakistani lawmakers believe that the slogan, Mera Jisam, Meri Marzi, is indecent. Will it be excluded from the march to be held on the Women’s International Day? GVS presents detailed response.

Pakistan’s lawmakers are divided to decide whether the Aurat March should be held on March 9th or not. In a supposed attempt to curb ‘moral indecency’ allegedly linked to the Aurat March, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting urged the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to direct all media channels to stop telecasting slogans like “Mera Jism, Meri Marzi”.

The NA body held a meeting on Thursday under the chairmanship of Mian Javed Latif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The committee asked the government to check the telecast of indecent and controversial content on television channels with a special reference to the slogans related to the Aurat March annually held on the International Women’s Day. The committee decided to take up the issue with PEMRA and owners of the electronic media houses.

Read more: Pakistani culture vs Women empowerment: Should Aurat March be held?

A lawmaker, Aftab Jahangir, expressed ‘concern’ over the language used by “certain people in news channel programmes” saying it was repugnant to the Islamic teachings, which no person could “watch in the presence of family members”.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Islam was the champion of women’s rights, and anything against the religion and socio-cultural values would not be allowed.

The constitution gives the right of freedom of speech but being the citizens of an Islamic and democratic country “we have some responsibilities and values”.

Stop the march from happening, Maualna Fazlur Rehman

Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Islami chief Maualna Fazlur Rehman told his followers to stop the Aurat March from taking place. In a video uploaded on Fazl’s Twitter account, he can be heard telling his supporters that when they see “these types of elements” they should alert security forces. He continued that if the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) are the ones providing security to the women rallying, then his supporters should take it upon themselves to stop those rallying by force.

Similarly, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Mushahidullah Khan has demanded an investigation into Aurat March, terming the slogan ‘mera jism meri marzi’ as obscene.

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) senator Mushtaq Ahmad while talking about Khalil-ur-Rehaman controversy said women’s rights should not be turned into a ‘gender clash’. He said “if Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar has said something inappropriate, we condemn it; we also condemn ‘mera jism, meri marzi’. The senator added that the ‘values’ of society should not be targeted for the sake of women ‘independence’.

Read more: President Alvi: Economic independence important for women empowerment

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Monday condemned political leaders urging a forceful stop of the Aurat March scheduled to take place on March 8 across the country.

In a strongly-worded tweet, Mazari said: “women like other segments of society have a right to peacefully protest [and] [to] demand their rights already enshrined in our Constitution”.

Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto has also pledged that the PPP will fully support the Aurat March and said no maulana, politician and anchorperson can stop women from holding the march.

Speaking at a Punjab PPP women convention in Lahore on Thursday, he said Benazir Bhutto had always fought against terrorism with courage. The people who say that women would not march should hear loud and clear that they will march and no one can stop them. This path was shown by Benazir Bhutto. The PPP is standing shoulder to shoulder with women of this country and we demand the government provide protection to each and every march and the people threatening women be arrested and cases registered against them.