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Pakistan ulema support Imran Khan's remarks on women's dresses, says his aide

News Agencies | Updated on: 29 June 2021, 8:17 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's special aide on religious affairs has said ulema (body of Muslim scholars) fully support the statement of the country's Prime Minister regarding women's hijab and dress.

During a press conference on Sunday, the special representative Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi said that Islam is the protector of women's rights, adding that Imran Khan's remark about hijab was legal and in accordance with Holy Quran and Sunnah.

Further defending the PM, Ashrafi said that Khan's remarks about women's clothing were targeted by some elements for political reasons, Business Recorder reported. The representative said that the Quranic order about hijab was equally applicable to men that they should keep their eyes down.

This comes as human rights groups in Pakistan had called on Imran Khan to publicly apologise for making controversial remarks on sexual violence, for which he pinned the blame on the woman's attire.

At a press conference held last Thursday, at least 16 civil society organisations, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the Women's Action Forum, Tehrik-e-Niswan, Aurat March, and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, among others, have strongly condemned Imran Khan's troubling remarks linking women's attire to rape.

"This is the second time that the Prime Minister has reduced sexual violence to an act of 'temptation.' This is dangerously simplistic and only reinforces the common public perception that women are 'knowing' victims and men 'helpless' aggressors. For the head of government--a government that claims to defend the rights of women and vulnerable groups--to insist on this view is simply inexcusable," the HRCP statement read.

Earlier, in an interview with Axios', the Pakistan PM had said: "If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the men unless they are robots. It's common sense."

"...I said the concept of 'purdah'. Avoid temptation in society. We don't have discos here, we don't have nightclubs. It is a completely different society, way of life here. So if you raise temptation in society to a point -- all these young guys have nowhere to go --- it has a consequence in the society," he also said.

This comes two months after Imran Khan's comments on sexual violence drew severe backlash, where he had said that the rise in such violence in Pakistan, particularly against children, was caused due to "fahashi" (vulgarity).

Khan's latest controversial remarks have led to an outpouring of furious comments on social media which netizens termed as "victim-blaming".


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First published: 29 June 2021, 8:17 IST