Pakistani journalists particularly female reporters erupted in a furore after they were denied entry inside the Azaadi march of JUI-F in Islamabad. Prominent TV anchor Shiffa Yousafzai and another reporter Annie recorded their protest on social media after they were forced out from the Azaadi march and mistreated by the protestors.

Thread from Maulana March: Went to the ground, only men could be seen in the ground for yards and yards. It felt very awkward and uncomfortable to be stared at some kind of alien still my team went ahead with me covering the march. So we went towards the ground. #Azadi_March

— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) November 1, 2019

Cameraman ready, My producer (woman) standing next to the cameraman, me and ovais giving intro. Qadyanion ka jo yaar hai wo bhagayga so bhagayga – are the slogans being chanted here at Maulana’s march,Anti Anti-PTI & Anti-Nawaz slogans are also being chanted around us.

— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) November 1, 2019

While giving the intro a man came and started saying women arent allowed, women CANNOT be here. Leave! Slowly but in a minute’s time a crowd of men encircled us and started chanting the slogans, we had to leave but they kept coming after us in huge crowds making sure that I leave

— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) November 1, 2019

Yousafzai in a series of tweets shared her experience of being bullied and verbally harassed by the marchers. She added that the hostile marchers barred her and the team from recording the videos for the show. She added that she confronted aggressive marchers who were disillusioned with the presence of a woman among them. Yousafzai complained that she was stared at like an alien by the protestors who even hurled distasteful remarks at her.

Not allowing women to participate in long march puts a big question on those liberals who have been supporting this march all along. #FazluCreatingChaos

— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 1, 2019

عورت کی عزت اور احترام کرنا تو اسلام ہمیں سیکھاتا ہے، بجائے اس کے کہ فضل الرحمن اپنے لوگوں کو عورتوں کی عزت اور احترام کرنے کا درس دے، اُلٹا اُن کے ساتھ بتمیزی کی جارہی ہیں۔ اسکے برعکس اگر عورت سے کچھ وزارتیں لینی ہو تو سب کچھ جائز ہے۔#FazluCreatingChaos pic.twitter.com/dk45vSUqV3

— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 1, 2019

What we saw today there at #Azadi_March being encircled by the mob, their reactions, the slogans they chanted against me (women) were pretty ugly… pic.twitter.com/D8w7E5bfKr

— Shiffa Z. Yousafzai (@Shiffa_ZY) November 1, 2019

I have been covering politics for some time now, but never in my journalistic career have I been barred from covering an event. I went to cover JUI #AzaadiMarch earlier this morning. JUI security personnel asked me to leave because I was a woman. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/BPa96tlpES

— Annie (@aaminsann) November 1, 2019

While recording a video for the program she was interrupted by a man who shouted at her forcing her to leave the ground, soon she was surrounded by a group of men, who followed her until she left the premises. The marchers warned her that they have placed strict permission on the participation of women in the rally in any form. Hence, there were no female protestors alongside men.

Read more: Managing Maulana March! Fazlur Rehman’s Dogmas Of Seeking Islamabad

She informed that not only they chanted anti-women slogans but also hurled slogans against the current prime minister Imran Khan and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. A video posted by Shiffa Yousafzai showed the personnel of banned militia ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’ were baton charging the motorcycle riders to clear the area.

Following the chaos, it is reported that JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi had announced the entry of women in the Azaadi March.

Absolutely correct @HamidMirPAK … correct move by JUI to ensure that all women in the media will be free to cover the JUI march/ tehreek. Also end to covert/overt media controls should be the demand of every rational & law abiding Pakistani.

— Nasim Zehra (@NasimZehra) November 1, 2019

The question of preventing women, whose equal rights are also enshrined in the Constitution Of Pakistan, from conducting their professional duties, must not arise. We will always fight to reverse such trends/practises. @aaminsann https://t.co/WAbs2wYjeG

— Nasim Zehra (@NasimZehra) November 1, 2019

I just spoke to @aaminsann and she was quite upset as she told me how she was treated, in my or @AmberRShamsi @NasimZehra case it’s might different but we should listen to these young girls who are new to this field . Can’t agree more https://t.co/774TVC8V4s

— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) November 1, 2019

Prominent female journalists including Nasim Zehra, Asma Shirazi protested against the restriction placed on female journalists by JUI-F. Former PPP leader Sharmila Farooqi also condemned the incident.

Earlier, a female journalist from Karachi had penned down a similar experience which she confronted during the coverage of Azaadi March in Karachi.

Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri announced from Azadi March stage that women journalists should not be stopped from covering the march and treat all women with respect no ban on entry of women in dharna

— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) November 1, 2019

The journalist, herself, penned down her experience of being barred multiple times from media coverage of the rally in Karachi-the starting destination of the Azaadi march.

Read more: Liberals Supporting Maulana: How About Taliban Styled Government in Pakistan?

She asserted that while no women protestors were part of the rally, the male marchers censured her for coming out of her car, standing amid men to cover the rally. She reported that she even heard crass sexist remarks from males from a man in a Khaki uniform-indicating that men from JUI-F’s banned militia ‘Ansar-ul-Islam’ were also accompanying the rally.

She added that it was not her inappropriate dressing which prompted such reaction but a staunch alignment of marchers to the hardcore religious mindset that despises the idea of women emancipation and considers politics an ‘all-men affair‘. In her article, the journalist questions the authenticity of the Azadi (Freedom) March, which does not allow women to freely perform their professional duties.

Shiffa Yousafzai is a TV presenter & producer with Hum TV. She is an International Alumni Ambassador for Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, where she studied Multimedia Journalism. Earlier, she graduated with business and marketing at Air University, Islamabad. She had been vice-president Air University Cultural Society; She is a singer and has performed in cultural events. Shiffa could be followed on twitter @Shiffa_ZY and on facebook @Shiffa Z. Yousafzai. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

This content was originally published here.