New Delhi: Organisers of the nationwide ‘Aurat March’ held in Pakistan Monday, to celebrate International Women’s Day, are facing online threats and accusations that a French flag was allegedly paraded during the march. They are being accused of “subscribing to a foreign agenda”.
The march was held in various cities in the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Multan and more.
Many Twitter users called the participants “shameless” and blasphemous, and asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take action against them.
These offsprings of unknown species have crossed the line.
Dear @ImranKhanPTI if you can't ban them, plz stop rhetoric of Riyasat-e-Madina, where no 1 could think of Blasphemy.
Aurat March & that too under French flag; shameful for the Govt; These aurats are already shameless
— Rao Saab (@RaoSahi16350969) March 11, 2021
The Women Democratic Front, the main organisers of the marches, however, clarified Wednesday that they had held their own organisation’s flag, which had red, white and purple stripes as opposed to the French flag with blue, white and red stripes.
In a tweet, the organisation said: “The WDF flag represents grassroots feminism in Pakistan and has nothing to do with the French flag. We, at WDF, stand against all forms of imperialism and the accusation that we would ever wave the flag of a former colonial power is ridiculous.”
The WDF flag represents grassroots feminism in Pakistan and has nothing to do with the French flag. We, at WDF, stand against all forms of imperialism and the accusation that we would ever wave the flag of a former colonial power is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/oZIjDB8XGu
— Women Democratic Front #AuratAzadiMarch2021 (@wdf_pk) March 10, 2021
Many women on Twitter expressed anguish over the misconceptions.
“My mother is watching Neo TV and asking as to why the French flag was waved at Aurat March and why AM disrespected the Prophet. Directly quoting the speaker (Orya Maqbool Jan) and the headlines. The quality of journalism in Pakistan is just amazing,” wrote one user.
My mother is watching Neo TV and asking as to why the French flag was waved at Aurat March and why AM disrespected the Prophet. Directly quoting the speaker (Orya Maqbool Jan) and the headlines. The quality of journalism in Pakistan is just amazing.
— Growing fruit around cyanide (@Ghost_ofRebecca) March 9, 2021
Pakistan was among several Islamic countries that held anti-French protests last year after French President Emmanuel Macron encouraged the display of cartoons featuring Prophet Muhammad, citing freedom of speech.
YouTuber’s spoof video of Imran Khan goes viral
A spoof video of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s saying “aap ne ghabrana nahi hai” (You should not panic) during a speech went viral.
Pakistani musician Saad Alavi uploaded the 58-second rap remix on YouTube Monday, which subsequently went viral when it was shared on Twitter.
Sabun mehnga hojaey to aap ne lagana nahin
Bass aap ne ghabrana nahin.. pic.twitter.com/aVCrDc8WU8
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) March 9, 2021
Twitter users praised the “creative melody” of the song, which also raised the issue of “rising cost of living” in Pakistan.
Well done #SaadAlvi for such creative melody.
— Fida Jatoi (@fidajatoi80) March 9, 2021
Issues and commentary on them know no political boundaries. Here's Saad Alavi on rising cost of living. A song with a great intro by Imran Khan 🤣https://t.co/sVncVF0kms
— Makarand (मकरंद) (مکرند) (@Makarand_S) March 9, 2021
The song is centred around a line from Khan’s televised speech in March last year on the coronavirus pandemic, where he said, “Aap ne ghabrana nahi hai.”
In the song, Alvi sarcastically talks about ‘not panicking’ over rising prices of soaps, flour, medicines, school fees, among other things. He also criticised tax payments in Pakistan.
US blocks delivery of Turkish gunships to Pakistan
The US has prevented Turkey from supplying 30 locally-made attack helicopters to Pakistan, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday. He added that this will likely lead to Islamabad buying the helicopters from China.
The machines in question are ATAK T-129, a twin-engine, all-weather attack helicopter modelled on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform. It is equipped with American engines, according to a Dawn report. However, the US has blocked export clearance for the engines.
In July 2018, Turkey and Pakistan inked a deal for 30 Turkish T-129 attack helicopters in what was seen to be the “biggest export deal” of the Turkish defence industry, notes a report in Business Recorder.
However, relations between Turkey and the US strained after the former bought Russian missile defence system SU-400. The US then imposed defence sanctions on Turkey due to which the supply of T-129 combat helicopters to Pakistan was delayed.
In the last five years, Turkey has exported unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), missiles, armoured vehicles, artillery and ships to Pakistan, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar and Azerbaijan.
(Edited by Rachel John)