Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak has come under fire on social media over his remarks on the Minar-i-Pakistan incident in which a woman was harassed and assaulted by a horde of men on Independence Day.
Khattak, in an appearance on a television talk show, said, “We cannot go against the rules of modesty mentioned in the Sharia. I don’t know how this girl was dressed when this incident took place…”
Here, the anchor interrupted him and said, “I don’t think it is appropriate to comment on this at all, but for the record, the girl was wearing traditional clothes, green and white, and was also wearing a dupatta. I just want to remind you here that rules of Sharia don’t just apply to women, they also apply to men, perhaps even more so.”
At this point, Senator Khattak could be seen shifting in his seat. “Look, I am not just talking about this particular incident, I am talking about the general trends I am seeing on TikTok, where TikTokers are doing obscene things. I am referencing that. These things are not permitted in the Shariat…”
The senator then mentioned Taliban rule in Afghanistan to underscore his point. “The Taliban must show to the world a high regard for women. They should show the world what happens to those who dare to even look at women, according to the rules of Shariat. And these men in Lahore, they should also be treated the same way.”
A clip of this exchange went viral on social media, with many criticizing the senator over his views.
Activist Usama Khilji wrote, “Clean shaved Taliban who blame women’s dress for crimes that men commit; PTI seems to have several. This victim blaming costs the security and rights of all women in Pakistan. Stop inviting them to comment on women-related issues; there are enough women to speak for themselves.”
Nayab Jan, a feminist activist, shared the clip and tweeted, “The rot in this regime is so deep it is terrifying.”
This is not the first time a representative of the ruling party has come under fire for their views on women’s rights.
In June, Prime Minister Imran Khan sparked outrage after he blamed the rape crisis on women. “If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense,” he said in an interview to Axios journalist Jonathan Swan.
At the time, more than a dozen women’s rights groups, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, released a statement demanding an apology. “This is dangerously simplistic and only reinforces the common public perception that women are ‘knowing’ victims and men ‘helpless’ aggressors,” they said.