By Amit Roy
PAKISTAN, like India, suffers from a rape pandemic. It was therefore highly irresponsible for the Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan to recommend purdah as way in which women could avoid unwelcome attention from men.
During a question and answer session on how Pakistan should combat a surge in rape cases, Imran also targeted Bollywood, saying Delhi had become “a rape capital of the world” due to indecency and “obscenity” in films.
“World history tells when you increase fahashi (vulgarity) in society, two things happen: sex crimes increase and the family system breaks down,” he said.
Imran effectively blamed women for inviting sexual assault: “This entire concept of purdah is to avoid temptation, (because) not everyone has the willpower to avoid it.”
He said while his government would introduce laws to protect women, it was up to the whole of society to preserve modesty.
According to him, “sex, drugs and rock ’n’roll culture” in the UK had led to a 70 per cent rise in divorce rates due to “vulgarity”.
He acknowledged that rape was “spreading like a cancer” in Pakistani society and argued that preserving the Islamic concept of modesty be used as a defence.
“… We can fix our justice system and the institutions but if our family system breaks down, we will not be able to rebuild it.”
His words recall those of Tirath Singh Rawat, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, who recently equated women wearing ripped jeans with moral decay.
Meanwhile, Imran’s first and second wives took him to task for his comments.
Jemima Khan said: “The Imran I knew used to say, ‘Put a veil on the man’s eyes not on the woman.’”
And Reham Khan, who did not spare Imran in her book on their nine-month marriage, declared: “The less he speaks the better it will be for all.”
Imran is now 68. But the Daily Mail required little excuse to remind readers of Imran’s playboy days in London when he was “no stranger to scantily-clad women as he partied in VIP nightclubs”.
Words can have terrible consequences. The Mail recounted the “honour killing” of 26-year-old social media star, Qandeel Baloch, dubbed “Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian”, who was killed by her own brother in 2016.