Pakistan PM, foreign minister face criticism for remarks in interviews

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi were criticised on Monday by politicians and social media users for their stand on matters such as sexual violence and the status of slain Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

In an interview with the news programme Axios on HBO, Khan said men would be affected if women wore “very few clothes” when he was asked about what the interviewer said was an “epidemic of sexual violence in Pakistan”. Khan preferred not to speak out on China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, saying Pakistan prefers to discuss such matters with the Chinese side “behind closed doors”. Qureshi, in an interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo News channel, ducked a question on whether he considered bin Laden a “martyr”. Despite Pakistan endorsing a joint statement by China, Russia and the US in March opposing the restoration of an Islamic emirate by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Qureshi didn’t offer a clear answer when he was asked if he opposed the return of an Islamic emirate.

Khan faced more criticism for his comments on women and sexual violence. “If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots. I mean it’s common sense,” he said. Both Qureshi and Khan have been strongly criticised for their remarks in the interviews by Pakistan’s opposition politicians, civil society activists and social media users.