He took calls from public on Sunday
Prime Minister Imran Khan took calls from the public on Sunday and talked at length about corruption and inflation. But what attracted both fury and resentment was his comments on rising rape cases in Pakistan.
A caller asked him what steps have been taken to curb the problem. In response, he termed obscenity a “Western” and “Indian” concept. He said obscenity is the major reason why sexual crimes are rising; including what he thinks is a decline in purdah.
Many people accused him of excusing rapists when he said not everyone has the willpower to resist temptation, and that temptation can only be avoided by purdah.
The comments sparked outrage on social media. Sindh Aurat March organisers condemned the statements, saying that rape has more to do with power than temptation.
عورت مارچ سندھ وزیراعظم کی خواتین کے ریپ پے انتھائی نامناسب ریمارکس کی پر زور مذمت کرتے ہیں مطالبہ کرتا ہے ریپ کا جنسی تسکین سے زیادہ طاقت کی استعمال سے تعلق ہے۔اس ملک میں مردہ عورتیں،مصصوم زینب جیسی کمسن بچیوں کا ریپ ہوتا ہے، وہاں کپڑی ارو پردہ بی معنی ہے۔
— AuratAzadiMarchSindh (@AuratMarchSindh) April 6, 2021
Lawyer Reema Omer called his words “problematic and dangerous” and said linking rape with obscenity is ignorant.
Let’s not mince words: PM’s comments linking rape with “obscenity” are ignorant, dangerous and condemnable
His propagation of this rape myth shows he has no understanding of the issue, and amounts to providing excuses for criminal acts of perpetrators while blaming the victims
— Reema Omer (@reema_omer) April 5, 2021
People have also argued that blaming sexual crimes on Western culture is convenient for the prime minister, but does not exempt him from giving basic protection to women without objecting to their choices, of clothing or otherwise.
Instead of making effective policies and implementing them to stop rape like public hanging or castration. Imran khan has once agained left this matter to parda. Do parda or get raped , what kind of mindset is this ? 1/3 pic.twitter.com/AQELGbbcKN
— Palwasha binte inam 🇵🇰 (@PBItweets) April 6, 2021
To anyone channeling Prime Minister Imran Khan and thinking rape is because of ‘fahaashi’ or lack of ‘pardah’. No, rape is: NOT the woman’s fault, NOT because she was wearing less clothes and so she ‘asked for it’,
— Zebunnisa Burki (@zburki) April 6, 2021
Always reminded of Mr. Imran Khan defending Mike Tyson’s rape with: if a girl had gone into the hotel room of a man in our country, we would wonder why she had done so in the first place.
— Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak) April 5, 2021
Anyone who is defending Imran Khan’s statement is a rape apologist.
Remember, rape apologists are potential rapist.
If you defend his absurd thinking & statement, you are a rape apologist and a potential rapist.
That’s it. End of conversation.
— خراب عورت (@KharabAurat) April 6, 2021
With due respect, we #women are hurt by PM Imran Khan’s statement that #Rape is happening bcz of فحاشی. This is a very vague statement, supporting the mindset that women are responsible for being raped. Such statements give the rapists false justifications to not feel responsible
— Shad Begum (@ShadBegum) April 6, 2021
He also said that importing Turkish series Diriliş: Ertuğrul is among his efforts to curb rape in society by introducing modest culture.
Many people wonder what the prime minister thinks of minors being raped to death, as it hardly concerns purdah in their case. A report by NGO Sahil states that at least eight children were sexually assaulted a day in the first half of 2020. According to Senator Sherry Rehman, 6% of women faced sexual abuse during the pandemic.
In September last year, former Lahore CCPO Umer Sheikh came under fire for blaming the motorway rape survivor for travelling with her children at night.
Watch what the prime minister said here: