Organizers of Aurat Aazdi’s annual march on International Women’s Day denounce the accusations as ‘unfounded and false’.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistani police have registered a blasphemy case against the organization of feminist Aurat Azadi [Women’s Freedom] March was in a northwestern city, while a court in the country’s second city dismissed similar allegations as unsubstantiated.
Police in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar registered the First Information Report (FIR) under the country’s strict blasphemy law, which could impose the mandatory death penalty, on Thursday.
In a statement, the organizers of the march, held annually to celebrate International Women’s Day March 8, denounced the allegations as “unfounded and false”.
Since March, the women of the march have faced countless death and rape threats, including a leading newspaper, Daily Ummat, mentioned [feminist] the statement said the marchers such as prostitutes and prostitutes.
“These accusations and threats have now gone so far as to wrongly accuse us of blasphemy, a charge that seriously endangers the lives of hundreds of women.”
Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in Pakistan, where the country’s strict laws provide the death penalty for insulting Islam’s prophet and life sentences for insulting Islam’s holy book, The Quran. Feminist organizers have been accused of criminal acts in the past.
In Lahore, a court dismissed a similar petition because it was based on suspicious video evidence and said the protesters’ rights to protest were constitutionally protected under the constitutional rights of free speech.
“The fact that the plaintiff insults from a vague slogan and labels it blasphemy reflect his own mental state and pattern of thinking,” read the order from Judge Hafiz Rizwan Aziz.
“He has accused a very serious offense without any supporting documentation.”
Blasphemy allegations rise right after this year’s march, there seemed to be a focus on video and photos with content. Organizers shared parallel comparisons between the original video and the edited video, the latter part of which makes it seem as though protesters are chanting against Allah.
“We are being charged with crimes we have never committed, slogans have never been raised and banners are never carried,” the organizers said in a statement Thursday. according to the”.
“In addition, the cases that are being fabricated as blasphemy in these allegations are not even from Islamabad March and the allegations related to them have been found by both the media and the respective municipal government. they are taken out thoroughly ”.
The blasphemy case was registered in Peshawar “to satisfy the bloodthirsty of religious extremists,” organizers said.
This week, the far-right Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party held several days of violent protests across Pakistan over blasphemy, demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador for French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments. last year was said to be “blasphemy”.
The Pakistani government on Thursday declared the TLP a “terrorist organization” and persecuted activists across the country, after at least two policemen were killed and more than 500 people were injured in those protests.
Meanwhile, the French government advised all French citizens and companies temporarily left Pakistan due to the security situation surrounding the TLP protests.
Asad Hashim is digital correspondent for Al Jazeera in Pakistan. He tweeted @AsadHashim