The Lahore city in eastern Pakistan has refused to grant permission for a rally in honor of International Women’s Day, which has been met with opposition in the past. In Pakistan’s major cities, marches have been organized since 2018 to promote women’s rights.

Late on Friday, the decision was conveyed to the organizers of the march through a notification, citing security concerns and the “controversial cards and banners” commonly displayed by march participants. Religious groups often stage counter-protests, dubbed “Haya (modesty)” marches, to demand the preservation of Islamic values. The Pakistani Aurat March organizers have regularly had to rely on the legal system to prevent attempts to outlaw the march.

The banners and placards displayed by participants in the Aurat March demonstrations, which address issues such as divorce, sexual harassment, and menstruation, have sparked controversy. Participants and organizers have been accused of downplaying religious and cultural sensitivities while promoting Western, liberal principles.

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