Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan faced a torrent of criticism after he blamed a rise in sexual violence on women wearing “very few clothes” because men are not
In his sit-down interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios HBO, Mr Khan said: “If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on
the men, unless they are robots. It’s just common sense.”
Mr Khan went on to suggest that it depends on what is acceptable in the culture in which someone lives. He said
in a society where people have not “seen that sort of thing, it will have an impact on them. If you grow up in a society like yours, maybe it won’t have an impact,” he said, referring to Western culture.
“This is cultural imperialism,” he claimed. “Whatever is acceptable in our culture, must be acceptable everywhere else. It’s not,” he added.
Earlier this year, in April, Pakistan’s prime minister defended the traditional Islamic practice of women wearing a veil during
a live Q&A show on Geo TV.
He said then: “If you keep increasing vulgarity in a society, then definitely there will be this impact.” The practice of wearing
the veil existed, he claimed, so “that there is no temptation in society”.
Mr Khan attempted to justify these previous remarks in the Axios interview. “We don’t have discotheques, we don’t have nightclubs, so it’s a different way of life here,” he said. “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.”
The prime minister of the Muslim-majority nation drew strong reaction for his comments
on social media.
“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,” said Reema Omer, a human rights professional from Lahore, in a tweet.