“If a woman wears skimpy clothes, it will have an impact on men, unless they are robots“. This is what the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, in an interview which caused a sensation at home and abroad.
“I mean, it’s common sense”, continued the Pakistani prime minister during the interview granted to the Australian journalist Jonathan Swan for the documentary series Axios of the HBO. Asked by the interviewer if the way the women they dress has to do with the sexual violence, Khan he reiterated: “It depends on the society you live in”.
“If in a society where people have never seen that kind of thing, it will have an impact on them,” said the former cricket champion, who has garnered an avalanche of criticism both in Pakistan than internationally.
It is not the first time that Imran Khan arouses this kind of controversy. In April, speaking on a Pakistani state television program, the premier suggested that wearing the veil could protect the women give her sexual assaults. “If the concept of the veil exists in our religion, there is a philosophy behind it, and that philosophy is to save the family system and protect society”.
“We should take the side of the victims and not offer excuses to those who commit these crimes”, he commented Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of the late former premier Benazir Bhutto and current secretary of Pakistani People’s Party, the first opposition movement in parliament. “Imran Khan he is in a position where he should choose his words and actions wisely. The message cannot pass that those who suffer wrong and abuse are to blame ”.
“The world had an idea of the sick, misogynist, degenerate and miserable mentality of Imran Khan”He wrote on Twitter the spokesperson for the second-largest opposition party in the number of seats in parliament, the Pakistan Muslim League, Marriyum Aurangzeb. “It is not the choices of women that cause sexual assaults, rather those of men who choose to engage in this despicable and vile crime.”
“Shame on you,” he always added on Twitter the Pakistani model, Frieha Altaf, addressing the premier directly. However, several deputies and ministers of the party Tehreek-e-Insaf of Khan they defended the prime minister, arguing that the statements were taken out of context.
Some women in Pakistan responded to comments from Khan sharing photos of the clothes they wore when they were sexually harassed on social media. Other users said they were victims of violence despite wearing the traditional veil and the shalwar kameez, a typical item of clothing in vogue in the Indian subcontinent consisting of trousers and tunic.
A protest was staged yesterday in Karachi has seen hundreds of women take to the streets “against the culture of rape, of the sexual violence and the blaming of the victims, now also reached the highest official levels “. The demonstrators had been invited to parade in the procession with the clothing they wore during the harassment suffered either personally or by relatives, friends, acquaintances.
Protest against Imran Khan’s statement regarding rape. We demand apology or Resign at Karachi press club today✌️✌️ pic.twitter.com/iyL2NgaRtl
– Shireen Asa’ad (@ShireenAijaz) June 26, 2021
The premier’s statements also aroused the reaction of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a dozen other associations, according to which the words of Imran Khan they are “dangerously simplistic and reinforce the perception that women know what they are doing and men are ‘helpless’ aggressors. “As head of government – a government that claims to defend the rights of women and vulnerable groups – to insist on this point of view is simply unforgivable.”
The administration led by Imran Khan, in office since 2018, has faced several criticisms in recent years for its inability to tackle sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Attacks on women are not uncommon Pakistan. Almost 1,000 cases of femicide are reported each year in the country, mostly relating to the so-called “honor killings”.