Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is presently going viral for all the wrong reasons, having made several unfortunate remarks during a recent interview. From Opposition parliamentarians to countless individuals across the globe - the cricketer-turned-politician is now facing massive backlash for his "misogynistic" mindset for having drawn a correlation between rising rape cases and women's clothing.
It all began with a recent interview on HBO, wherein the Prime Minister was asked if he thought what women wear has any effect on the temptation that leads to rapes. Khan replied in the affirmative, contending that "if a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots". As he put it, this was "common sense".
Questioned further, he said that the situation depended on which society one lived in. "If in a society people haven't seen that sort of thing, it will have an impact [on them]. Growing up in a society like yours, maybe it won't impact you. This cultural imperialism. Whatever is in our culture must be acceptable to everyone else," he explained.
Needless to say, the remarks have not gone down well with others. But even as many took to social media platforms demanding that the Prime Minister "hold men accountable", members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf fielded prominent party women leaders to defend the prime minister.
"Can the PM please explain why he chose to victim-blame women for the violence and sex crimes they face? Not ok at any level. Social, judicial, religious and political. He’s saying it’s the victim’s fault, not the man’s. Could he explain what else leads to assault? Misogyny 101," tweeted Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman.
"Does Imran Khan not know that by saying women should dress a certain way, he is giving oppressors and criminals against women a new narrative to justify their behaviour. There is NO justification for a prime minister to talk this way. Highly irresponsible and condemnable," read another tweet.
According to reports, Sindh Minister for Women Development Shehla Raza suggested that the Prime Minister focus on the issues being faced by the country instead of "keeping an eye on the women".
"Its not women's choices that lead to sexual assault rather the choices of men who choose to engage in this dispicable and vile CRIME," stressed Pakistan Muslim League-(Nawaz) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb in a tweet. The world, she added, had received insight into the mindset of a "sick, misogynistic, degenerate and derelict" individual.
The outrage is not limited to female politicians in Pakistan. "Disappointing and frankly sickening to see PM Imran Khan repeat his victim blaming regarding reasons for sexual violence in Pakistan Men are not “robots”, he says. If they see women in skimpy clothes, they will get “tempted” and some will resort to rape Shameful!" read one outraged tweet.
"PM Imran Khan wants tourism to be the bedrock of our economic policy and to promote Pakistan's "soft image". Wonder how many women will feel comfortable traveling to a country where men are easily “tempted” and are unable to control themselves," countered another.