It has been a few days since Aurat March has concluded. The country should be conversing over the rights of women. Instead of finding solutions and empowering women further, propaganda was set up to defame the movement. It isn’t for the first time this has happened, for the past three years, either before Aurat March or after it, something or the other is picked and then scrutinized.
Use of Religion to Cause a Stir Against Aurat March
This time around, the perpetrators used the religion card. Changes were made of audio in videos to generate religious emotions and spread hatred against the movement. The accusation of blasphemy was called out on social media. Misinformation regarding the march was also spread by the anchors, journalists, and analysts. It was not someone who made the accusations unintentionally but in considerable frequency which only proved that this was a well-thought-out plan.
For instance, this banner in the tweet below is about child abuse but it was impersonated as such that it seemed like blasphemy
This is #blasphemy. The one who made this placard and the one who carried it through the #AuratMarch2021 should be caught and given capital punishment. Blasphemy is a death sentence for the criminal. #HolyProphetPBUH #AuratMarch #AuratMarchLhr_295c #Anti_IslamAgenda pic.twitter.com/LPqTZexQlO
— Ahad (@BozichMoxness) March 9, 2021
This was no joke. We all know how people go down in this country for blasphemy. By doctoring the videos, this person/body has put lives in danger of those who were present at the March.
Whoever has maliciously or carelessly publicised the doctored video against the #AuratMarch2021 organisers have put LIVES at risk. There should be nothing less than an unqualified public apology. Doctoring a video is a punishable offence under the law. #jhootbandkaro https://t.co/cR4RgtIZ53
— Amber Rahim Shamsi (@AmberRShamsi) March 11, 2021
Even Bakhtawar B-Zardari tweeted on the matter. She said it was done to incite hatred and endanger the lives of women.
Absolutely condemn the doctored videos of #AuratMarch done to incite hatred & endanger lives of more women. Know that it is a purposeful campaign & this pathetic, illegal (also criminal) intent to harm will not deter this beautiful & necessary movement #StopHateAgainstAuratMarch
— Bakhtawar B-Zardari (@BakhtawarBZ) March 11, 2021
The Aurat March Lahore has asked for a public apology from all those who have accused them of blasphemy
The malicious campaign against Aurat March and Aurat Azaadi March has caused irrepairable harm to individuals and the movement. We demand that all those part of this disinformation campaign #ApologizeToAuratMarch NOW!
— عورت مارچ لاہور – Aurat March Lahore (@AuratMarch) March 11, 2021
Aurat March Also Posted a Compilation of Original Slogans
Here’s is the original slogan, here is our real voice 🗣
The Aurat March faces severe backlash every year. Our videos & posters are targeted & manipulated, spreading misinformation to malign the March.#AuratMarch2021#PatriarchykaPandemic#StopSpreadingFakeNews pic.twitter.com/piowxqMUEK
— Aurat March – عورت مارچ (@AuratMarchKHI) March 11, 2021
Shahzeb Khanzada Cleared the Air Regarding Propaganda and was also Appreciated on Twitter
Check out what he had to say below:
— Geo News Urdu (@geonews_urdu) March 11, 2021
People also apologized for becoming part of the propaganda unknowingly
I am all for forgiveness too but when only one side is getting forgiveness and other is getting butchered it is important to set a few precedents for the other side. There is no example of dealing with false accusers yet. https://t.co/wuGLGfk3US
— Zain Raza (@smzrz) March 11, 2021
But an apology isn’t enough for this kind of accusation
Journalists, feminists & allies strongly condemn the false and malicious campaign against Aurat March organisers & participants; demand apology & retraction from those spreading disinformation. Share and sign:https://t.co/BmA0BSJLaq…#JhootBandKaro #StopLiesAgainstAuratMarch pic.twitter.com/JIYdDHkhfa
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) March 11, 2021
I also fell prey to the doctored video. It is clear that no blasphemic slogans were chanted in the march. It is the age of disinformation and one must be careful. My apologies. Those who were involved in making the fake subtitled video should be punished. https://t.co/zSwfhwhzm5
— Ovais Mangalwala (@ovaismangalwala) March 11, 2021
Several accounts deleted their tweet sharing the doctored video of #AuratMarch slogans when corrected but many are refusing to do so despite being directly confronted with evidence. They are making themselves equally culpable of crimes of defamation, hate speech & cyber terrorism
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) March 11, 2021
In a country where blasphemy is used every day as a way to loot property and to settle scores with opponents, it’s no wonder people like Mir MAK and Ansar Abbasi tried to play the same card here. Even if they #apologizetoauratmarch, it’s not enough. They need to face the music.
— Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak) March 11, 2021
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also strongly condemned the vicious campaign against Aurat March
This is not just repugnant, it is an incitement to violence. We demand that action be taken against all such persons. A mere apology is not enough. Indeed, it is a matter of great shame that such a backlash has become a recurring feature of @AuratMarch. 2/2
— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) March 12, 2021
There are some problematic ideas that we see on placards each year on Aurat march which also leads to a lot of women not wanting to be associated with the movement. However, this was deliberately done without being thought about as this could have resulted in some serious repercussions.
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