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Monday, June 24, 2024  
17 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Why not the whole year? Arif Alvi’s innocent question for Aurat March

Discusses elections and state of politics in exclusive interview on Aaj TV
Exclusive interview of President Arif Alvi - Spot Light with Munizae Jahangir

While Aurat March organisers try to mobilise support and move courts to get permission for a single day’s protest, President Arif Alvi came up with a new point of debate altogether on Monday.

“I would like to ask the women, why debate rights on March 8? Why not debate them the entire year?” President Alvi said.

Read: Courts decide fate of Aurat March as organizers make strong push

He was answering a question about whether Aurat March should face resistance from the administration on Aaj TV’s Spotlight with Munizae Jahangir. The complete interview will air at 10pm on Monday.

When asked further that protests were a great way to enable the masses to learn about social issues, President Alvi said learning doesn’t necessarily happen through protests.

“I think I learned everything I did without protest,” the President added. He added that one section thinks the Aurat March wants to inroduce western ways into Pakistan while another section thinks it is a genuine promotion of women’s rights.

President Alvi said that the ‘collision’ of the two view points in the streets was unlikely to provide a solution to the problem.

The president added that the issue faced by Pakistan’s women is the same as everything else, that there is alot of theory and alto of laws but no implementation.

He also said that as a conservative society it is important to see the Islamic perspective on women’s rights. Islam, he said, had given women the right to inheritance which had been denied to women in that era.

He added that although laws gave liberties to women in Pakistan, the danger is that women face harassment when they exercise those rights. He also said that digitisation provides a great opportunity for women’s progress as they can earn oney without leaving te house.

The Aurat March is organised across the country on March 8, which is the international day for women. Women march across the country with slogans for equality in all spheres of life.

However, the march has faced criticism and allegations of ‘imposing western values’ in a society where women face discrimination and violence everywhere from home to the workplace.

Elections the way forward

When asked about the upcoming elections to the provincial assemblies, President Alvi said that he was confident that the elections would go on as planned on April 30.

He also said that if he had not stepped in to announce elections as per his constitutional role it would have led to a miscarriage of the constitution.

He also said that the only solution to Pakistan’s problems was a ‘sensitive, responsible’ democracy. And that democracy can only come into being through elections.

He added that Pakistan has seen, at most, 15 years of continuous democracy but even those years had been marred by allegations of the establishment’s involvement and claims of foreign interference.

He also said that elections should not be delayed beyond 90 days because when they were delayed in 1977, they then took 11 years to materialise.

He also said that the linking of inability to organise elections with the state of the economy makes no sense and there are definitely enough funds for elections. he also added that the dire state of the economy made elections more necessary.

He also said that he had grown fearful at one point that general elections in October would end up being delayed, but with the clarity in the Supreme Court’s recent order that fear has passed.

The hubris of power

President Alvi said that when someone was handed the ‘stick’ of power in Pakistan it invariably led to a feeling of hubris.

He said that the practice of leaking audios was an extension of this mmindset, because private conversations were being leaked for political purposes. He added that private conversations could not be made publich under any law or justification.

When asked about the political polarisation in the country, he said that it was not a good situation. However, he said that it would be a ‘painful’ matter for him if corruption continued while complacency continued alongside it.

He added that everyone agreed that corruption had consumed Pakistan from within, but not a single powerful person had ever been punished.

Everyone needs to be on one page

When asked if he was making efforts to bring all stakeholders to the same page, the President said he was publicly inviting everyone to sit together for the benefit of the country.

When asked if there was silence in reply to the efforts of bringing everyone to the table, he said the silence was from the government’s side.

He also added that ever since the establishment had said it had nothing to do with politics he had not made any contact with them.

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Spot Light

Aurat March

Dr Arif Alvi