"Onus Is On Men": Imran Khan's Ex-Wife, Others Hit Back After Rape Remark

Pakistan rights campaigners accused Imran Khan of "baffling ignorance". (File)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's ex-wife was among several of those today who joined in slamming the PM after he blamed how women dress for a rise in rape cases.

In a weekend interview on live television, Mr Khan had said that an increase in rapes indicated the "consequences in any society where vulgarity is on the rise".

"The incidents of rape of women... (have) actually very rapidly increased in society," he said and advised women to cover up to prevent temptation.

British filmmaker Jemima Goldsmith, who was married to Mr Khan from 1995 to 2004, shared a report with the PM's remarks on Twitter and wrote: "'Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts.' Quran 24:31. The onus is on men."

Her tweet has been shared and liked by thousands, who joined her in condemning the Pakistani PM.

However, she added: "I'm hoping this is a misquote/ mistranslation. The Imran I knew used to say, 'Put a veil on the man's eyes not on the woman.'"

During the live telecast, Mr Khan had said: "This entire concept of purdah is to avoid temptation, not everyone has the willpower to avoid it," he said, using a term that can refer to modest dress or the segregation of the sexes.

Soon, Pakistan rights campaigners accused the PM of "baffling ignorance". Hundreds have signed a statement circulating online calling his comments "factually incorrect, insensitive and dangerous".

"Fault rests solely with the rapist and the system that enables the rapist, including a culture fostered by statements such as those made by (Khan)," the statement said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent rights watchdog, said it was "appalled" by the comments.

The Pak PM also mentioned India during his interview and said that when Bollywood started adopting Hollywood, the same situation developed there. "Delhi is known as the rape capital," he added.

He also blamed divorce rates in Britain on the "sex, drugs and rock and roll" culture that began in the 1970s.

Pakistan regularly ranks among the worst places in the world for gender equality. Nationwide protests erupted last year when a police chief admonished a gang-rape victim for driving at night without a male companion.

(With inputs from AFP)