Islamabad: Pakistan opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan for his contentious remarks on sexual violence, saying the clothes a person wears have no link with rape or abuse.
Speaking to the media, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari called the country's prime minister a "coward" and termed his remarks "disappointing".
During an interview, Pakistan Prime Minister Khan had suggested that avoiding "temptation in society" is the way to prevent sexual violence against women.
"Such crimes should not be linked to a single cause ... the clothes of a person have no link with rape or abuse," Bhutto-Zardari said.
"Imran Khan's statements before and after coming into power are different .... He was a coward since day one," said the PPP leader.
In an interview with Axios' on HBO, Khan said: "If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the men unless they are robots. It's common sense." "...I said the concept of 'purdah'. Avoid temptation in society. We don't have discos here, we don't have nightclubs. It is a completely different society way of life here. So if you raise temptation in society to a point -- all these young guys have nowhere to go --- it has a consequence in the society," he also said.
This comes two months after Imran Khan's comments on sexual violence drew severe backlash, where he had said that the rise in such violence in Pakistan, particularly against children, was caused due to "fahashi" (vulgarity).
Official statistics in Pakistan have revealed that at least 11 rape incidents are reported in the country every day, with over 22,000 cases reported to the police in the last six years.
However, only 77 of the accused have been convicted which comprises 0.3 per cent of the total figure, reported Geo News.
Khan's latest controversial remarks have led to an outpouring of furious comments on social media as netizens termed his comments as "victim-blaming".
Reacting to the comments, journalist Gharidah Farooqi described her reaction to the premier's words as "disgusted," "appalled" and "outraged", reported Dawn.
"Disgusted. Appalled. Outraged. Strongly condemnable. No, Mr PM Khan, women clothing is NOT responsible for temptation leading to rape/assault/violence. ABSOLUTELY NOT! This is victim-blaming and giving a pass to men. Don't insult victims. Don't justify rape as temptation," she tweeted.
Another scribe, Shahmir Sanni, said: "What is most heinous about Imran Khan's justifications for rape, is that nearly every woman that has been raped in Pakistan has worn what he would prescribe as modest clothing. This has nothing to do with clothes, but just another man trying to escape accountability. It is sick."