The Awami Workers Party (AWP) has condemned in the strongest possible terms an attack on the participants of Aurat Azadi March at Islamabad and supports the demand for a judicial inquiry into the incident.
In a joint statement the AWP President, Yousuf Mustikhan and Secretary General Akhtar Hussain said: “The party salutes the brave women and men who came out in such a huge numbers in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Sukkur, Multan and other cities for their rights.”
“We salute the leaders and volunteers of the Aurat March, especially the Women Democratic Front (WDF) President Ismat Shahjehan, Dr Farzana Bari and others who foiled the plan of the religious groups and their handlers to disrupt the historic event,” AWP leaders said.
They also appreciated the participants for exercising restraint and remained steadfast against the obscurantist, sectarian, intolerant elements.
The women were exercising their constitutional fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly and raise their voice against the rising incidents of patriarchal violence, against women and girls and other weak segments of society.
They were also demanding an end to obscurantism, extremism, as well as securitization of foreign policy, politics, economy and society. It was Islamabad district administrations responsibility to ensure security to them but they failed in doing so, the two leaders said.
They asked why the Islamabad administration allowed the extremist groups to assemble near the Aurat March venue without getting prior permission and used abusive language and lewd gestures towards women?
They demanded immediate and stern action against the culprits nominated in the FIR.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the misogynist smear campaign against women and intimidation of the activists by rightwing, obscurantist elements. They also criticised media for distorting the demands of women and spreading hate against women activists.”
The AWP resolve to struggle for a society where women can move free of fear and not silenced and shamed for speaking out; where women and men can engage in relationships as equals, they said.
They reaffirmed their resolve to encourage women for a leadership roles in politics to build a genuinely progressive and egalitarian alternative to fascism, capitalism, and imperialism, and to create a society free from violence, warmongering, abductions, and terror.
The party vows to fight against the hyper-masculine ideologies fortified by the state under the garb of security, outdated cultural and misinterpreted religious norms and traditions. Thousands of women have become victims of these ideologies and traditions, they concluded