Imran Khan is dangerous for women

photo credit @ dawn

When the news first started to make it’s rounds I hoped it was a misquote. It has to be, I thought — I hoped. Outrage took people to the streets and their phones, an offline and online outcry erupted.

What a waste of an Oxford education!
Unacceptable behavior on the part of a public leader
He pretends to be a mulla to increase support.
What the actual fuck?!

I found the call and listened to it for myself. Please be a misquote. I listened to his words. Again. And again.

A caller asked what Imran’s government was doing about the rise in sexual violence against children in the country. Acknowledging the issue he moved swiftly to defend his government and place the blame on society. Read, place the blame on women. Throwing up his hands he exclaimed that the law can’t do anything if people don’t listen. I played and replayed the words that perpetuate the vicious misogyny that takes the blame from men and weighs it down on women.

Agar aap fahashi barhatey jaen toh us ka kuch toh asar ho ga na — If obscenity continues to rise there will of course be consequences. He did not call out the men who prey on the vulnerable. He chose to blame the women who have fought so hard to have a voice.

Yeh sara jo pardey ka concept hai yeh kya hai? Kai temptation na ho masheray mein — what is the reason for the concept of purdah? It’s to prevent temptation in society. He did not call out the men who abuse their power. He chose to blame women who have fought so hard to be seen.

Har insaan kay under taqat, willpower nahi hota. Aap agar barhatey jaen fahashi is key asarat hain — every person does not have self control. If obscenity keeps plundering society there will be consequences. He did not call out the men who take no responsibility for their abuse. He chose to blame the women who have fought so hard for a place.

Humarey deen mein..pardeh ka sara concept hai is kai pechay koi fulsafa tha na — the concept of purdah was introduced in Islam because of a certain philosophy. He did not call out the men who rape women. He chose to blame the women who have fought so hard to have a say over their own bodies.

His office put out a statement that his remarks were misrepresented. So I listened again. He did not misspeak, he did not so much as stammer. He spoke with an articulation of someone who has thought about this. He delivered with the conviction of someone who believes wholly in his own self-righteousness. Imran Khan meant what he said. It is irrelevant if he “did this” for public support. It doesn’t matter if he’s “not actually like that”. It’s not important if he “had” to say this for political gain. And it’s completely irrelevant that he was once married to a progressive women, or that he had a glamorous playboy’s life.

Whats important is that what he said is dangerous to the very lives of women. His statement was not ignorant, he is well aware of the rampant rape culture in Pakistan. By placing the violence of men on women’s shoulders he has thrown his support behind misogyny. He has signaled to ultra conservatives and radicals that he stands with them. He has announced to women that he does not believe in their basic rights.

I listened to his words one final time. Imran Khan is dangerous to progress and is a threat to the life and liberty of women.

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