In a bid to clarify his stance on sexual assault, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an interview to PBS that only a person who commits rape is responsible for that crime. He said his comments to HBO last month were taken out of context and he would "never say such a stupid thing" that a woman is somehow responsible for being raped.
He told Judy Woodrow who conducted the interview and asked the prime minister whether he really believed a woman is somehow responsible for the rape: “Anyone who commits rape, solely and solely that person is responsible. So let's be clear about that. No matter how provocative the woman is or whatever she wears, the person who commits rape is fully responsible. Never is the victim responsible,” he said in a firm tone.
He said he believed his comments were "deliberately" taken out of context.
He then went onto explain what he meant when he spoke of purdah in a Pakistani context in his interview to Jonathan Swift of HBO.
He said he was speaking about the sharp rise in sex crimes, not just rape but also child abuse whose cases "had gone through the roof." He clarified that purdah doesn't mean covering oneself up with clothes or that is only restricted to women but is also for men and "brings down temptation in society."
Woodruff asked whether Islam's role in Pakistan "complicates his ability" from taking a stronger stance against violence against women.
“Absolutely not," the prime minister replied firmly. "Islam gives dignity [and] respect to women,” adding that his travels had shown him that women are treated with more respect in Muslim nations than elsewhere.
However, on rape cases in Pakistan specifically, he said they were "minuscule" compared to western nations.
He admitted there are "cultural problems" in Pakistan like there are everywhere but they get resolved with "cultural evolution."
The premier admitted that there are issues in Pakistan but linked them to “cultural problems”. He then went on to say that such cultural problems exist in every nation and are resolved with cultural evolution.
“As far as a women’s dignity and respect goes, I can say after going all over the world, this [Pakistani] society gives more respect and dignity to women,” concluded PM Imran.