Politicians and human rights bodies have criticised former prime minister Imran Khan’s misogynistic remarks against PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz during the Multan rally on Friday and have urged him to respect women.
“I was sent the video of Maryam’s speech on social media yesterday; she took my name so many times with such jazba and junoon that I want to tell her to be careful, your husband might get upset at you taking my name so often,” Imran said to a charged crowd in his rally.
The PTI and the PML-N are staging public gatherings across the country as part of their political campaigns. Both the parties have been trading barbs and accusing each other of destroying the country. However, Imran’s views on Maryam’s rally on Friday were criticised by many people.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the PTI chief for using derogatory remarks, adding that people who have women in their houses do not use such words.
“For God’s sake, do not stoop so low in politics,” he said while wishing that someone writes a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the incident.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif demanded that the entire nation, especially women, strongly condemn the language used for Maryam Nawaz.
“Your [Imran Khan] crimes against the country and the nation cannot be hidden by the low calibre of your humour. How can we expect those to respect mothers, sisters and daughters from those who do not respect the sanctity of Masjid Nabavi,” he said in a series of tweets.
Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman also condemned Imran’s views.
“Hitting out at women with an arsenal of sexist remarks has been typical of this regime, but this is a new low,” she said in a tweet.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Women Action Forum also issued statements.
“Mr Khan is a national leader. He must learn to conduct national conversations with his political rivals. He owes an apology not just to Ms Sharif but to all women,” the HRCP said in a series of tweets.
The Women Action Forum demanded an immediate apology from the former premier.
‘Respect is a two-way process’
Imran Khan’s words were also the point of conversation in the Aaj News show Rubaroo. PTI’s Maleeka Bukhari, journalist Mazhar Abbas, and JUI-F Kamran Murtaza had joined the discussion.
“Respect is a two-way process. I have to talk in a respectful manner if I want respect from you,” Maleeka said and recalled the PML-N’s actions – including Khawaja Asif’s words for Shireen Mazari – against PTI women leaders.
She claimed that PTI does not believe in disrespecting women. “However, whenever Maryam has tried to criticise Imran Khan, she has attacked the women associated with him,” she said and recalled the former premier’s daughter’s words for former first lady Bushra Bibi.
“If Maryam Nawaz wants respect, then she should learn to respect daughters and mothers of others,” Maleeka said and advised the PML-N leader to review the use of words.
The PTI leader accused the PML-N of bringing such derogatory language into politics. “I don’t think Khan Sb has criticised her [Maryam] in the same vein as her comments. If you want to start respecting women then start by doing so at home.”