‘Da Khezo March’, Pushto for Women March, the first of its kind in Peshawar to mark International women’s day with clear demand for the recognition of women’s rights and gender equality, and to put an end to gender based violence by implementing laws, among other aims. Last year, International Women’s Day drew out crowds of women for ‘Aurat March’ on the streets of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. This time, Peshawar too is in the circle.
‘Da Khezo March’ has been planned and organised by a local women platform ‘Feminist Fridays’ in Peshawar. A diverse group of women belonging to different backgrounds, ethnicities, classes and sections of society attended the March. Charterer of demand was presented at the Peshawar Press Club after which the number of women hold march.
Charter of demand stressed on the approval of KP domestic violence bill, devising policy for domestic workers, increased political participation of women and establishment of complaint committees in the governmental and non-governmental institution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with other demands.
Recently, the first women’s ‘peace bicycle rally’ in Peshawar planned by a local women rights’ organization was cancelled after when the threats were received from the religious parties to protest against the event.
Despite this incident lately, De Khezo March has motivated the common women to demand equality and justice for their due rights, freedom of expression and reclaiming public spaces.
Women rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan are constantly being questioned. Nearly half of the country’s population is thought to be isolated from mainstream society due to strict set of beliefs, unfriendly laws and societal behavioural patterns. The subordinated position of women is subjected to the patriarchal values imbedded in our cultural and misconstrued religious narratives, impact of which can be clearly observed in terms of lessen women participation in social, economic and political arenas. The long practised patriarchal norms have enormously give way extreme reactions like honour killing of women, sexual assault and harassment, domestic violence, child & forced marriages, custodial abuse and torture.