Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
HomeOpinionLetter From PakistanYou thought Asif Zardari & Pervez Musharraf were sexists. Meet Pakistan PM...

You thought Asif Zardari & Pervez Musharraf were sexists. Meet Pakistan PM Imran Khan

In Imran Khan’s world, working mothers are disgraceful. Like masculinity, the Pakistan PM is an expert on motherhood too.

Text Size:

From Nawaz Sharif to Asif Zardari to Imran Khan – Pakistani leaders making misogynist remarks is par for the course. In just the last ten days, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed rampant sexual crimes in the country on Bollywood movies and rising divorces (others’ and probably his) on Hollywood or the evil West. This from Khan who had earlier claimed that he can only get along with non-Pakistani women as his partners.

Casual sexism runs across party lines and every prominent leader is an equal opportunity offender in Pakistan. From former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s misogynistic comment against women at Imran Khan’s jalsas: “Thankfully you are not like the women who attend PTI rallies”; to former president Asif Zardari’s flirtatious remarks to American Republican leader Sarah Palin: “You’re even more gorgeous in life…now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you”; or former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf’s infamous rape comment: “If you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.”

PM Imran Khan has a huge fan following among his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) followers, including women. For them, nothing that he says is ever sexist or reeks of toxic masculinity.

By now, one thing should become clear to every one of us: whenever PM Imran Khan says anything, literally anything, it is unintended, super funny and something similar to muh se moti jharna (pearls of wisdom). And all of us line up to catch those pearls. Such is our luck.

Now, haters are gonna hate, but we lovers will defend the indefensible. So what if in the last ten days, PM Imran Khan has shifted the blame of rampant sexual crimes in Pakistan on to Bollywood or the increase in divorce rates (others and probably his) on to Hollywood and the evil West. All these claims can be defended, because, in the past, the Kaptaan has said that he can only get along with non-Pakistani women.

Also read: Why Boris Johnson reminds me of my ex-husband Imran Khan: Reham Khan

Tikkay wala PM

India had Ishq wala love, we have Tikkay wala PM. Obviously, we win. It so happened that the PM fell off a lift during the 2013 election campaign. He was taken to a hospital where the doctor gave him an injection that changed his worldview. He began to see nurses as hoors. He then appeared on TV, the details of which he doesn’t recall because he was under the influence of the injection.

We believe the impact of the drug continues to date. How else can one explain the objectification of professional nurses as hoors by a man who is now the prime minister of the country? Can someone come up with an injection to cure misogynist mouths, please?

Sahib aur sahiba

In the shiny world of Imran Khan, the word woman can be used as a slur from time to time. It doesn’t really matter which side he is on. At a public rally last year, PM Imran Khan addressed Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as a sahiba (madam) instead of sahib. Shireen Mazari of PTI defended this act, calling it a “slip of tongue”.

Khan and other PTI members have had issues with Bilawal for taking up his grandfather’s surname Bhutto as well. However, PTI members won’t have issues if the premier’s sons were living off their grandfather’s funds.

Bilawal Bhutto wasn’t the only one whose masculinity was up for debate in Khan’s world. This is what Khan had to say about former prime minister Shaukat Aziz: “Sometimes I suspect if Shaukat Aziz is a man or a woman.” Mimicking Pashtun leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai with a chaddar is another high in Khan’s career. Needless to say, most opponents fail on Khan’s masculinity scale.

Also read: Not Pirni Bushra Bibi’s spirituality, but Pakistan politics is affecting Imran Khan marriage

No handbag. How about a casual talaq?

While Khan was still married to his second wife Reham Khan, the couple appeared on a morning show together. When the host mentioned that Reham doesn’t like handbags or other expensive stuff, Imran Khan replied, “Even if she likes them, she would not say in front of me. If Reham asks me for Rs 1 million handbag, I will divorce her.” His ‘casual’ remark was followed by a huge laugh by an embarrassed Reham and the female host.

Sure, go ahead and blame this on the West too.

Can’t even say how you got there

Women who become members of the National Assembly on reserved seats have also faced attacks from Imran Khan. Speaking on the quota issue, he said that women went after him when he criticised the process. “Now I can’t even say how you were selected,” he had said, implying that these women slept their way up to the assembly. Ironically, he wanted them to be elected and not “selected”, like himself.

Also read: Top Bollywood heroine of 1970s ‘described’ her ‘experience’ with Imran as ‘naam bade aur darshan chhote’

Asma Jahangir’s bhangra

Imran Khan’s criticism of human rights activist Asma Jahangir was always packaged with misogyny. He has disdainfully referred to her work as agenda-driven several times. Her opposition to Khan’s politics was seen as a great conspiracy of the West. In one rally, Khan targeted her by saying, “Asma goes to India and does bhangra there, seems she is now friends with Fazal-ur-Rehman.” Asma had hit back saying that she had no issue with women dancing: “I have never said anything critical about dancing. If Khan Sahib wants to go to India and dance, I have not stopped him nor is he under any sort of restriction.”

West has degraded motherhood

Imran Khan is a self-proclaimed ambassador of the West as well, which gives him the freedom to criticise the West and when he wishes, in the manner he likes. He can say random things like ‘West has degraded the motherhood’. Don’t ask how; we don’t know. There is a mind-numbing difference that he draws between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mothers but never tells us what is what. “Who achee maa hogi… agar waqai he maa hogi… ” We don’t know which Western mother let him down, knowing he was with Western women who wanted to be mothers of his children.

Last year, Khan said: “The concept of feminism has degraded the role of a mother.” Working mothers are degrading in his world. Like masculinity, Khan is now an expert on motherhood too, but not so much on fatherhood.

Also read: World will realise Pakistan’s potential when relations with India are normal: Imran Khan

Women’s clothes

Great things happened at the United Nations General Assembly last year. Everyone remembers the amazing speech of PM Imran Khan. Not to miss the part where he schooled everyone on the true Western values, and also something about how “a woman can take off her clothes, but cannot put on more clothes?” We wonder which countries he has been visiting where women are taking off clothes. But then again, he can say stuff like that. And you haven’t seen the end of it yet.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. On point as always Naila. i wait to read your column every week. Imran Khan is misogynist pig remember the lines from Sita White when she told him that he’ll be a dad to a girl he became sad and said ‘but girls can’t play cricket’ then going on dragging the poor woman in courts

  2. As always brilliant writing by AS. Nothing is worse than a father disowning his child, Sita White! How can he be sadiq and ameen??

  3. ”Shireen Mazari of PTI defended this act, calling it a “slip of tongue”.”

    But Imran simply responded with, “Oh come on! Shireen is hardly a woman”. REHAM KHAN

Comments are closed.

Most Popular