Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is again drawing flak for his comments blaming women for the rising sexual violence in the country. In an interview with Axios’ journalist Jonathan Swan on HBO, which aired on June 20, the prime minister 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.”
Earlier this year, in an interview with Geo News, Khan had made similar comments, stating that sexual violence was a product of ‘obscenity,’ which he described as a Western import.
Khan was asked by a caller what the government plans to do in the light of rising incidents of rape and sexual violence, especially against children.
In response, Imran Khan blamed “fahashi” (vulgarity) for the rise of rape and sexual violence in the country. Khan also spoke of religion and the concept of ‘purdah’ in Islam. It is to remove “temptation” from society because “not everyone has willpower”, he said.
Justifying his earlier remarks, Khan told Swan that he had spoken about ‘purdah’ as a way to avoid temptation. “We don’t have discotheques, we don’t have night clubs, so its 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,” he said.
When Swan prodded if a woman’s clothes can provoke sexual violence, Khan responded, “It depends on what society you live in. If in a society people haven’t 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.”
During the interview, Khan also spoke on numerous other issues concerning Pakistan. He stated that his government will “absolutely not” allow the CIA to come to Pakistan and use its bases for cross-border counterterrorism missions, Axios reported. He, however, deflected questions regarding China’s repression of Uyghur Muslims, stating, “Whatever issues we have with the Chinese, we speak to them behind closed doors. China has been one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times.”