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Imran Khan’s sexist remarks against Maryam Nawaz

Khan's critics say this is not expected of a 70-year-old man and someone who frequently uses Islamic references to make his point.

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Addressing the Multan rally on Friday, Imran Khan said: “I was sent the video of Maryam’s speech on social media yesterday; in that speech, 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.”

In response, Maryam’s father and former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, said Imran Khan does not know how to honor mothers and sisters and what is the status of women in Islam and our society. He said in the name of Medina, this state does things that are not seen in any of the dirtiest societies in the world.

Maryam’s paternal uncle Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also strongly disapproves of Imran Khan’s statement. Taking to Twitter, he said the entire nation, especially women, should strongly condemn the “deplorable language used against the daughter of the nation Maryam Nawaz.”

“Your crimes against the country and the nation cannot be hidden under your lowly humour. How could those who cannot respect the sanctity of Masjid Nabawi (PBUH) be expected to respect the honour of someone’s mothers, sisters, and daughters?”

He continued: “Imran is the first person in history to fall into this abyss of rudeness as the leader of a party. His party went out to make a nation but spoiled the morals of the people instead. To Allah, we belong and to Him, we shall return.”

Meanwhile, PPP’s co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari condemned Khan’s remarks, saying, “Those who have mothers and sisters in their homes do not use such language against other women. Please, do not stoop so low in the name of politics.”

He said, “I wish someone would also write a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan based on personal observation and he would take notice of the matter.”

Women across the country condemned the statement that reeks of innuendo and sexism. However, it’s not the first time Khan put his foot in his mouth when talking about women.  Khan has been attacked for his statements on sexual harassment and women’s dressing akin to victim-blaming earlier.

Read more: Did Jemima support or slam PM Imran Khan on rape statements?

However, many of his supporters took to the internet defending him after the rally. They say the PML-N and PPP have painted Bushra Bibi in the sexist role of a scheming and controlling wife. Others pointed out that his first wife, Jemima Goldsmith, is still not spared from harassment because of her association with Imran.

They also point out how PML-N attacked Benazir Bhutto and Jemima Goldsmith for political gains. However, they forget that two wrongs don’t make a right.

Meanwhile, Khan’s critics said this is not expected of a 70-year-old man and someone who frequently uses Islamic references to make his point. The youth looks up to Khan who will be remembered as a star cricketer, a contentious prime minister, a formidable opposition leader, and an ardent philanthropist. He should realise that such ‘jokes’ can win him cheers from the crowd but may harm his legacy.