Mind your language

It seems like Naya Pakistan has even less to offer in terms of change than previously thought. Even the political discourse is as crass and uncouth as ever. In fact, now the premier of the country himself is stooping to below the belt remarks which previous Prime Ministers (PMs) would not.

Recently PM Imran Khan attempted to mock Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman by referring to him as a woman. Such behaviour is highly condemnable when it comes from anybody, but even more so when it comes from the person who is occupying the highest office in the land. Statements like the one given by PM Imran Khan feed into the culture of sexism and misogyny that plagues this country.

While such statements may or may not allow the PM to score some political points against the PPP, what they do in the long run is equate women with weakness. This is a great disservice to Pakistan’s female citizens, who continue to struggle for equal rights.

PM Imran Khan must remember that he is as much the PM of this country’s women as he is the men’s. Nearly half of Pakistan’s population is comprised of women, furthermore, women make up a significant portion of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) support base. Therefore the use of such language equates to nothing less than a betrayal of PTI supporters.

The PM and those supporting him should remember the many sacrifices Pakistani women have given for this country. The role of strong women such as Fatima Jinnah, Begum Shahnawaz, Salma Tassaduque Hussain, Begum Liaqat Ali Khan and Fatima Sughra in the Pakistan Movement are well documented and are an integral part of the history of this country.

In the aftermath of this incident, it is hoped that the PM learns from his mistake and choose his language more carefully in the future. Sexism must not be used in the political arena for petty mudslinging. *

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