Prime Minister Imran Khan blames women’s clothing for the rising number of rape cases in Pakistan.
Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, 68, is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Recently, Khan has drawn intense criticism after he restated that a rise in sexual assault cases in the country was associated with the way women dress.
Official statistics indicate that at least 11 rape incidents are reported in Pakistan every day, with more than 22,000 cases reported to the police over the course of the last six years.
Imran told Jonathan Swan on Axios on HBO that it was “common sense” that provocative clothing would provoke sexual violence.
“If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots,” Khan said.
He was then asked whether clothing really has an impact on a man’s ability not to control himself.
“It depends on which society you live in,” he answered. “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,” Khan said. “This cultural imperialism…whatever is in our culture must be acceptable to everyone else.”
A few months ago, the prime minister had said that vulgarity was to blame for the rise in cases of sexual violence in Pakistan. He also advised women to cover up to prevent temptation.
“In any society where vulgarity is prevalent, there are consequences,” Khan said in an interview on live television. “This entire concept of purdah is to avoid temptation. Not everyone has the willpower to avoid it.”
A spokesperson for the Government of Pakistan claimed that misunderstandings were being spread about the Prime Minister’s controversial comments.
They said the Prime Minister spoke about the societal responses and the need to put efforts together to eliminate the menace of rape completely.
“Unfortunately, part of his comment, consciously or unconsciously, has been distorted to mean something that he never intended,” the spokesperson said.
Khan has been criticized by activists who have slammed him for victim-blaming rather than attack the men who perpetrate these awful crimes.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has released a statement condemning Khan’s comments.
“Not only does this betray a baffling ignorance of where, why and how rape occurs, but it also lays the blame on rape survivors, who, as the government must know, can range from young children to victims of honor crimes,” it said.
Human rights groups also branded Imran a “rape apologist” after he advised women to cover themselves up so as not to tempt rapists.
Pakistani Prime Minister also blamed divorce rates in Britain on the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” culture that began in the 1970s, when he was gaining a reputation in London as a playboy.
Pakistan is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women in terms of safety and equality.
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