Pakistani Prime Minister and former cricketer Imran Khan recently stated that Indian traditions should be blamed for women’s rights violations in Pakistan. Khan made the remark during a ceremony in Rawalpindi on the account of International Women’s Day. The Pakistani politician basically found a way to drag India into a conversation that should have been solely about women and their struggle for equality. His statement yet again proved how little he understood about the cause.
During his International Women’s Day address at Fatima Jinnah University at Rawalpindi, Imran Khan remarked that many women do not get their rights in Pakistan because the country has adopted Indian traditions, thus reducing the status of women to being men’s property. “Indian women used to be burned alive (Sati) with the body of her husband if he died,” he said.
On the other hand, Imran Khan remarked that Islam has provided women with many rights. “Education is also important along with the protection of their rights,” he mentioned emphasising the need for proper implementation of laws protecting the welfare of women.
While the Pakistani Prime Minister was taking a dig at Indian traditions for violating women’s rights, he cunningly found a way to blame it all on India, instead of urging the people in his homeland to change their mindset of social and familial level. India and Pakistan have been separate countries for nearly 75 years now, does Khan want to imply that Pakistani society is stuck where it was seven and half-decade ago? How was a Women’s Day conversation more about animosity with a neighbouring country and religion, and less about addressing women’s grievances?
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Khan is not new to courting controversy for his bizarre statements on women’s rights and sexual crimes. Here are other Imran Khan sexist remarks you should know about:
- Speaking in an interview with HBO, Imran Khan said, “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.” His comments about women’s clothes being a temptation for men drew huge flak over social media.
- In his interview with Geo News, he called out sexual violence a result of obscenity catered by western influence on the country’s culture. “We don’t have discotheques, we don’t have nightclubs, so it’s a different way of life here. If you raise temptation in the society to a point and all these young guys have nowhere to go, it has consequences in the society,” said Imran Khan.
- He also mentioned in the Geo News interview that violation of women’s rights can be attributed to increasing vulgarity in society.
- Referring to the Islamic practice of Purdah, Imran Khan defended the system saying that it is a means to stop men from being tempted because not all men have the willpower to resist it.
- The politician drew flak on his misogynistic comment on Afghan women, allegedly saying that not educating women is a part of the country’s culture.
As the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan and an iconic cricketer, Imran Khan’s sexist remarks seem quite inappropriate given his position and status. The Pakistani leader needs to mull over his conservative views and think if securing votes from an orthodox community is worth reinforcing regressive practices and stereotypes that could impact generations of women and girls to come.