Wednesday Jun 23, 2021
KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan's ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith has responded to his recent statement on "women's dressing and the corresponding rise in sexual violence in Pakistan."
Goldsmith didn't say much on the matter, but she took to Twitter and retweeted an old tweet, adding: "And again. Sigh."
Goldsmith, in the old tweet, had recalled an incident she encountered in Saudi Arabia. She wrote that she met an elderly Saudi woman, fully covered, who was complaining about being "followed and harassed" by young men.
The woman, she said, was wearing an abaya and a niqab and "the only way to get rid of them [young men] was to take her face covering off."
"The problem is not how women dress," she had tweeted in April.
That tweet, too, had been in response to the prime minister's comments in April on women's dressing and the "temptation" it causes.
During a recent interview, renowned journalist Johnathan Swan of HBO Axios asked PM Khan:
"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 him, 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.