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NGOs vow to rearrange Peshawar women’s cycle rally soon

PESHAWAR: The organisers of the first-ever women’s cycle rally in Peshawar have resolved to rearrange the event in a month or two after taking the clerics and leaders of various religio-political parties into confidence.

The rally, which was to be held on Saturday at Hayatabad sports complex, was cancelled after opposition from some religio-political parties.

Speaking at a press conference at Peshawar Press Club on Sunday, Ms Zartasha Jamal, the chief executive officer of Pak Development Mission, one of the three NGOs organising the event, accused the co-organiser Zmung Jwandun of leaking information about the rally, which was supposed to be kept secret to avoid backlash or criticism.

Say leaders of religio-political parties to be taken into confidence

Flanked by representatives of another NGO Professional Development Organisation, Ms Jamal accused a fellow organisation of being responsible for their failure to hold the rally on the scheduled date. She alleged that information regarding the rally was leaked by Ms Wafa Wazir, which not only jeopardised the lives of rally’s participants, but also led to its cancelation due to threats by clerics.

“We had obtained the no-objection certificates from the relevant departments and Hayatabad police had assured foolproof security to the participants,” she said and added that the event was aimed to present a soft image of the province at world level.

She claimed that NGO Zmung Jwandun was not registered with the relevant government departments, but her organisation had joined hands with it to encourage it for serving the cause of women.

Another official of Pak Development Mission, Kashif Iqbal, said that his NGO had organised many events in educational institutions to develop soft skills of the female students.

The cycle rally, he said, was a symbolic event within a distance of three kilometres to encourage the girl students for taking part in different activities. He said that scores of girls had got their names registered for taking part in the rally.

“We have also engaged our legal counsel to take permission for the cycle rally through the court,” he said. However, he denied having received any kind of life threats from any quarters.

The Peshawar cycle rally was cancelled after Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl protested against it and warned of dire consequences if it was held.

Zartasha Jamal said they would reschedule the event in a month or two.

“The security and safety of the girls was our primary responsibility due to which we had to cancel the rally,” she said, adding that they would not include Zmung Jwandun as an organiser next time.

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