PM must retract remarks on causes of rape: AWP

Press release

Karachi, April 8, 2021: The Awami Workers Party (AWP) is greatly dismayed at the disgusting remarks made by Imran Khan about rising incidents of sexual violence against women.

The party demands an immediate and unconditional apology from the premier for his factually incorrect and insensitive remarks that could embolden rapists and victim blamers, and further endanger the lives of women and vulnerable young girls, boys and transpeople.

The AWP President Yousuf Mustikhan, General Secretary Akhtar Hussain, Deputy Secretary Ismat Shahjehan, Secretary Women Aliya Bakhshal, Federal Committee members Dr Farzana Bari, Alia Amirali, Shazia Khan, Abida Chaudhry, Iqbal Sultana, Saleha Ather, Tooba Syed and Marvi Latifi in a statement said they are appalled at the PM’s remarks blaming the victims of sexual violence for the rising cases of rape.

“It demonstrates the casual misogynist attitude, toxic masculinity mindset of Pakistani society, in general, and the hypocrisy and insensitivity of the misguided premier, in particular.”

Mr Khan in response to a question from a caller about paedophilia and child abuse during a question-answer interview on television said that sexual violence was a result of ‘increasing obscenity’ and appeared to advise women to observe purdah to stem its rise.

This statement is horrific and tantamount to placing the blame on the sexual violence victims, instead of the perpetrators, and the rotten patriarchal system. It will, in fact, embolden the criminals and perpetuate the crime, the AWP leaders said.

They further said it was even more outrageous that he linked women’s clothing and segregation to child abuse, which was the original question he was asked. The AWP leaders also condemned his remarks suggesting that some men were not able to stop themselves from committing rape, which is the exact excuse used by rapists and child abusers while justifying their crimes.

They said that his words were not just a slip of tongue, but rather showed the pervasive casual sexism prevalent in both the premier’s own mindset and in political and social strands of Pakistani society.

They said this was another remark in a long line of distasteful and unethical comments by the PM. They said that the PM has been disdainfully mimicking opposition politicians and parliamentarians, criticizing the concept of feminism, engaging in the objectification of health workers as ‘hoors’ after getting an injection, criticizing Aurat March participants as being ‘against our culture’.

PM Khan even did not take any notice of the coordinated disinformation campaign against women activists and organisers of the Aurat March and the doctored images and videos, leading to false accusations of blasphemy and frivolous court cases, endangering the lives of activists.

The AWP leaders said it was clear that the PM wanted to appease his right-wing supporters, while not caring how his remarks could further endanger and silence victims of sexual violence.

The AWP leaders said Pakistan is ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women in terms of safety and equality where over 10 women are reportedly raped every day and killed in the name of so-called honour. The sexual abuse of thousands of boys and girls, needed a concerted state and society response that tackles the patriarchal roots of this sickness.

Instead of acknowledging the actual causes of the rising cases of sexual violence and exploitation of working women and children at workplaces, markets and homes, the Prime Minister is rubbing salt on the wounds of victims and survivors.

The party leaders demanded an immediate apology from the Prime Minister and right-wing media for their perpetuation of regressive misogynist values and victim-blaming.

Issued by:

Information secretary


Awami Workers Party is a Left-wing revolutionary party of the working class, working people. peasants, women, youth, students and marginalised communities. It strives to bring about structural changes in society set up an egalitarian society based on social justice, equality, and free from all kinds of exploitation and discrimination on the basis of faith, religion, class, nationality, gender and colour.