Several cities of Pakistan saw a sea of women coming together in solidarity and promoting the spirit of Women’s Day with the “Aurat March”.
Equipped with witty posters and placards, women gathered in public spaces in major cities, including Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, and Hyderabad, stating their resistance to patriarchal norms.
As we demand safe access to public spaces and workplaces without abuse or exploitation for women and sexual minorities, we reiterate that Aurat March would not have been possible without the participation of working women like these #AuratMarch2019 #AuratMarchLahore pic.twitter.com/0kQuxAtsYp— Aurat March Lahore (@AuratMarch) March 11, 2019
It’s been four days since Aurat March was held on International Women’s Day, however, the rage over posters and placards still continues. The placards and posters, which called for ending sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, stopping both offline and online harassment and reproductive right, were only some of the issues highlighted by women in this year’s rallies.
The rage has also extended to some of the celebrities.
Shaan Shahid, who has been the face of Pakistani cinema for decades and Veena Malik, a Pakistani actress, TV host, reality television personality and model did not really approve of the ‘Aurat March’, but do their opinions matter?
Shaan twitted how ashamed he felt of the posters of the ‘Aurat March’. He thought these posters were "not freedom" but "verbal nudity" and "do not represent our culture, our values and the respect we have for our women".
@mangobaaz These slogans do not represent our culture ,our values and the respect we have for our women that was my point .. and you missed it completely.. stop twisting our views just to get more mileage own your responsibility .. pic.twitter.com/dcdUnlqyjU— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) March 11, 2019
In another tweet, the actor posted pictures of some posters and wrote, "#respectforwomenfirst No brother can see this poster in the hands of his sister."
Several, including writer Ahmer Naqvi bashed Shaan. Naqvi asked the actor if he has seen his own films, and made a collage of some scenes from them.
"Acting is a choice taking on a role that is exploitative not a majboori," Naqvi said in response to a tweet. To which Shaan responded, "You can’t comment on actors you aren’t one, what choices they make are needed for the professionalism they represent .. where is our freedom of expression?" The tweet once again led to people questioning the hypocrisy in Shaan speaking about "freedom of expression".
Acting is a choice taking on a role that is exploitative is a choice not a majboori— Ahmer Naqvi (@karachikhatmal) March 12, 2019
Another Twitter user wrote, "Lol at Shaan being a champion of Pakistani culture, values and respect for women when his films blatantly sexualize them and reduce their existence to a mere prop to exert the ‘masculinity’ of his character but God forbid real women to call out this misogynistic culture."
Lol @ @mshaanshahid being a champion of Pakistani culture, values and respect for women when his films blatantly sexualize them & reduce their existence to a mere prop to exert the ‘masculinity’ of his character but god forbid real women call out this misogynistic culture. pic.twitter.com/Nv50etGQAg— q (@brownbasic) March 12, 2019
In response to which, the actor wrote, "#Ibelieveinauratpower if I didn’t believe in March I wouldn’t support my wife and daughter going to it. They were at the venue holding play cards [placards], my father's song was sung at the March in Lahore, but they left. They also felt that some words could have been written differently."
#Ibelieveinauratpower if I didn’t believe in the March I wouldn’t support my wife& daughter going to it. they were at the venue holding play cards ,my fathers song was sung at the March in lhr ,but they left .they also felt that some words could have been written differently .— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) March 12, 2019
Veena too took to her official Twitter handle to explicate her views on Aurat March event asking "Who planned and funded this controversial #auratmarch2019. Because this brought humiliation to women of Pakistan instead of Anything positive like empowering them etc...!!!"
Twitter users were quick to slam and school the actress.
Probably the same ones who defended you after you posed for nudes in a magazine https://t.co/GOtKXdA53X— Comrade Bleh ☭ (@booonely) March 12, 2019
You're on your own now, sister.— Nida Kirmani (@nidkirm) March 12, 2019
The same feminists who came out to defend you when you were being threatened for exercising your right because there was a time when you believed in mera jism meri marzi too.We lifted each other up same way we fought for you defended you against the mullahs&thekaydars of culture.— Ghausia (@Ghausia_R) March 12, 2019
There was a time when you were 6 feet deep under shit and these same women of Pakistan dug you out of it. The women who supported you then are the same kind of women who attended the march. https://t.co/qcBYKPjqN3— Khadija Baloch (@khadijaali354) March 12, 2019
Those same 'shameless' women fought for her when we participated in Bigg Boss because we believed in women's choice. Pot calling kettle black at its finest. https://t.co/nWxmfTOWNW— Khadija Abbas (@TheKhadijaAbbas) March 12, 2019
Actor and singer Ahmed Ali Butt also took to his Instagram handle to criticize women and their efforts.