Islamabad: After being heavily criticised for his comments on rape, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he would “never say such a stupid thing” where a rape victim is “somehow responsible” for the crime committed against them.
In an interview with PBS News Hour, PM Imran Khan was asked about his comments indicating that a person who is raped is somehow responsible for the crime.
“Anyone who commits rape, solely and solely that person is responsible. So let’s be clear about that. No matter how provocative the woman is or whatever she wears, the person who commits rape is fully responsible. Never is the victim responsible,” said PM Khan as soon as he was asked the question.
The premier told Judy Woodruff, the interviewer, that his comments were “deliberately” taken “completely” out of context, the Dawn reported.
“They were simply talking about Pakistan society where we are having a sharp rise in sex crimes,” explained the premier. He also said sex crimes do not only include women.
“More than rape, there are child abuse [cases] which are going through the roof, so my comments were in that context,” said PM Khan.
The premier stated that he used the word “pardah”, adding that the word does not just mean clothes or is restricted to women only. He said that “pardah” is also for men and means to “bring down temptation in a society”.
“And I have to say because I know all the interviews I have given. Never would I say such a stupid thing where a person who is raped is somehow responsible. It is always the rapist that is responsible,” said PM Khan.
Woodruff also questioned the PM on whether the importance of Islam in Pakistan stops him from taking a stronger stance for women.
“Absolutely not. Islam gives dignity [and] respect to women,” the PM said to her question. He added that after traveling all over the world, he found that in Muslim countries, women are treated with more respect.
“In Pakistan, even in other Muslim countries I have seen, women [are] treated with far more respect and given more dignity,” said PM Khan.
When talking about respect to women, the PM admitted that there are “odd cases” but explained that such a situation was “everywhere in the world”.
“But you look at the situation in Pakistan even now, I mean look at the rape cases here, compared to Western countries, they are minuscule,” said the PM.
The premier admitted that there are issues in Pakistan but linked them to “cultural problems”. He then went on to say that such cultural problems exist in every nation and are resolved with cultural evolution.
“As far as a women’s dignity and respect goes, I can say after going all over the world, this [Pakistani] society gives more respect and dignity to women,” concluded PM Imran.
Last month, after an interview with with Axios’s Johnathan Swan, PM Imran Khan’s came under fire for his reaction to the rising cases of sexual violence in Pakistan.
The prime minister spoke over an array of issues during the interview, ranging from military bases; the Afghan peace process, and Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the prime minister’s remarks on temptation and women’s dressing went viral on social media.
Referring to the prime minister’s earlier remarks on vulgarity that triggered a backlash on social media, Swan asked:
“On increasing vulgarity, you said it will have consequences, and you were accused of rape victim-blaming. How do you respond to that?”
In response, the prime minister defended the criticism against himself, saying “it is such nonsense”.
“I never said veils– this was never said. I said the concept of pardah is [to] avoid temptation in society. We don’t have discos here, we don’t have nightclubs,” he said.
“So this is a completely different society, a way of life here. So, if you raise temptation in the society to the point, and all these young guys have nowhere to go, it has consequences on the society,” he added.
“Do you think what women wear–that, that’s part of any temptation?” asked Swan.
“If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on men,” responded PM Imran Khan. “Unless they’re robots. I mean, it’s common sense.”
“Yes, but will it really provoke acts of sexual violence?” asked Swan.
“It depends which society you live in,” answered PM Imran Khan. “If in a society, people haven’t seen that sort of a thing, it will have an impact on them,” he added.