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International Women's Day Rallies Held in South Asian Cities

Thousands of Pakistani women have demonstrated in south-central Punjab province, calling for equal rights on International Women's Day.

The rally in Multan Wednesday was being led by Mukhtaran Mai, a woman who gained international attention after she was gang-raped in 2002 on the orders of a tribal council, as punishment for her brother's alleged affair.

Women also rallied against oppression in the southern city of Karachi.

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai Wednesday called for an end to forced marriage and violence against women.

Speaking at a Women's Day event, the president says women are still oppressed, despite strides toward gender equality since the Taleban was overthrown in 2001.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.