Imran Khan under fire, this time for linking 'misuse' of mobiles phones with sexual assault
Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan has once again made a controversial statement, linking sexual assault with the misuse of mobile phones. While speaking about the 'correct usage' of modern technology, Khan said on Wednesday that sexual crimes are on the rise in Pakistan due to the "misuse" of mobile phones. The Pak premier's statement comes in the wake of a TikTok user from the country alleging that she was harassed and manhandled by a mob on Pakistan's Independence Day while shooting a clip for the video-sharing application near the Minar-e-Pakistan at Lahore's Greater Iqbal Park area.
Addressing the Punjab Education Convention in Lahore yesterday, Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan said that apart from providing quality education to the youth with the help of modern technology, it is also necessary to guide and educate them about the highest qualities of Seerat-e-Nabi (PBUH) for their "character-building". Highlighting the Minar-e-Pakistan incident, Imran Khan said that such cases are on the rise because children are not being guided in a proper way.
"Sexual crimes are on the rise due to the misuse of mobile phones," Khan was quoted as saying by Pakistani media. "We need to educate our children about the supreme qualities of the Seerat-e-Nabi".
This is hardly the first instance in a long history of Imran Khan's problematic comments regarding sexual assault. In a live television interview with Axios' on HBO earlier this year, Khan had said stoked controversies by commenting that a rise in sexual assault cases in Pakistan was linked to how women dress in "skimpy clothes".
"If a woman is wearing skimpy clothes, it will have an impact on the men unless they are robots. It's common sense," he said. In the same interview, Khan also talked about the concept of 'purdah' - a religious and social practice of female seclusion in some orthodox Muslim communities - as a means to avoid 'temptation' in society.
Civil society groups and activists in Pakistan have often cried out in outrage over the prime minister's remarks which pinned the blame for rape and sexual assault squarely on women themselves. Noting that these remarks are indicative of "victim-blaming", human rights campaigners called for a public apology from the prime minister.