The incidence of rape in Pakistan is on the rise, while a new debate has erupted in the country following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s controversial statement on this issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been facing the wrath of netizens after he made remarks in which he blamed women’s dress for an increase in rape cases in the country.
PM Imran’s controversial statement
On April 3, in a two-hour-long, question-and-answer session with the public on live television, PM Imran was asked what measures his government had taken to stop sexual abuse.
After denouncing such abuse against women and children, he said that sexual violence was a result of escalating obscenity, adding it was a product of, the West, India and Hollywood movies.
PM Imran said women in Pakistan should remove lure because not everyone has determination. The prime minister advised women should observe purdah – a term referring to women wearing modest clothes around men or separation between sexes.
Reaction to the prime minister’s statement
His statement has outraged netizens and Hundreds of people have signed a statement demanding an apology from the prime minister and there was widespread outrage on social media, even celebrities, politicians, the Human Rights Commission and international media condemned the statement and called it ‘insensitive.
International media and celebrities say that in his statement, the Prime Minister has tried to justify the incidents of rape by linking with obscenity despite highlighting the government’s steps to control the incidents.
PML-N has strongly condemned the statement and demanded an apology from PM Imran. On the other hand, Nafisa Shah, a member of the National Assembly from the opposition party PPP, also condemned and linked PM’s opinion with the statement of former CCPO of Lahore Police Omar Sheikh in which the police officer blamed a woman who was gang-raped on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.
Raising incident of rape incidents in Pakistan
Rape incidents in Pakistan are always debated whether women should go out without men or restrict women’s movement but on the contrary, there is no talk against this abusive and criminal mindset. Recently, it was reported that Pakistan was among the 10 most evil countries where rape was concerned.
It was disclosed that approximately 14,850 kidnapping cases involving women and children had been reported in Punjab in one year. Statics for three years from 2015 to 2018 also showed that a number of women had been abducted with a huge majority being raped.
According to official data, there are at least 11 cases of rape every day in Pakistan. Most astonishing is the rising incidence of rape of children. The reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg as PM Imran himself recognized.
Abuse against women is not confined to any especially country region, race or class. They happen as much among the poor, rural and uneducated sections as among the rich and urban.
Responsibility of sate
It is not only sad but also dangerous for the Prime Minister to link rape incidents with clothes and veils. The responsibility to protect every segment of society lies with the state.
They are not caused by the perceived ‘rudeness’ in society, and can scarcely be featured to the influence of Hollywood or Bollywood films as has been recommended by the prime minister. Rape is happening in a country where religion is extremely rooted.
Rapists try to give all sorts of reasons for their acts. It is all too simple to blame the victim for being raped. PM Imran’s remarks can only give additional encouragement to those who rationalize punishing the victim.
Now the question arises that even in homes where sisters and daughters are not safe. The mute animals also do not shy to make targets of the dead in the grave, women lying in hospitals, girls wearing burqa and mothers with children.
It is unfortunate that the prime minister does not come into sight to have understood just how helpless and unsafe women in this society are.
They are not secure because of the non-serious approach to the rape of people in high offices. It is a failure of our law enforcement as well as the prevailing culture of impunity that builds women more insecure.