- Punjab govt spokesperson censures Sanaullah, Talal for derogatory remarks, says PTI chief introduced such culture in politics
- Shehbaz Sharif apologises anti-women remarks made by party leaders
The Punjab government and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) including Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday disowned and condemned the derogatory remarks made by PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah and Talal Chaudhry, demeaning female participants of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) rally held in Lahore on Sunday.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had on Monday said that the women who attended the PTI rally “were not from honourable families because their dance moves implied where they had actually come from.”
At a separate press conference, Talal Chaudhary had said that “We don’t ask whose house you [Imran Khan] stay at when you visit London. It is another matter altogether what you do over there. When it comes to your wife, she remains veiled, but our mothers and sisters are for display?”
A third PML-N leader, Abid Sher Ali, also issued derogatory remarks against PTI’s chief whip Shireen Mazari while addressing a public gathering on Sunday night, saying that while she was protesting against Finance Minister Miftah Ismail’s budget speech in the National Assembly, she had said: “Don’t touch me.”
“What is there to touch?” he asked a crowd in Punjabi, in what can be described as an attempt to make a lewd joke.
After the comments sparked a backlash against the PML-N leaders, Punjab Government Spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan condemned the remarks saying, “Be it Abid Sher Ali, Rana Sanaullah, Talal Chaudhry or Imran Khan, I cannot tolerate this as these women are our mothers, sisters and daughters.”
On a show at a private news channel, the Punjab government spokesman condemned Rana Sanaullah’s remarks and opined that he [Sanaullah] should not have said it. “What Talal said was wrong. I condemn that. He should not have said it.”
“Irrespective of their political affiliation, such derogatory language should not be used against those mothers and sisters who come forward to take part in the political process,” he said.
Despite his condemnation, however, Malik Ahmed Khan shifted the blame for the PML-N leaders’ diatribes onto PTI Chairman Imran Khan, saying that the language they used was not the culture of the party, but had been introduced by the PTI chief.
Moreover, PML-N President and Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday term the statements made by PML-N leaders irresponsible and apologised for the misogynist remarks against female workers of PTI.
“We have to maintain decency and element of respect in political discourse,” said Shehbaz in a tweet. “I apologise for anti-women remarks made by some party leaders.”
PMLN acknowledes and encourages the role of women in national politics. Any statement demeaning them is highly irresponsible. We have to maintain decency and element of respect in political discourse. I apologise for anti-women remarks made by some party leaders.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 1, 2018
A day earlier, Imran Khan and PTI leader Asad Umar on Twitter had called out the PML-N leaders for their remarks.
“Disgusted by [and] strongly condemn the filthy language used by Rana Sanaullah [and] Abid Sher Ali against our PTI women,” said Imran. “In the past 30 years, these people have always disrespected women which is against our religion [and] culture. I want to thank our women for coming out in such huge numbers!”
Asad Umar called the comments “disgraceful”, demanding that Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif “apologise to all the women who have been targeted by his party leaders”. “I am proud to call the women who were at the jalsa my sisters [and] daughters. My wife was also there.”
Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, also a PML-N leader, voiced his distaste with the remarks on Twitter on Tuesday saying, “Disrespectful remarks about women are reprehensible, regardless of who utters them.”
Disrespectful remarks about women are reprehensible, regardless of who utters them.
— Khurram Dastgir-Khan (@kdastgirkhan) May 1, 2018
Meanwhile, the PTI has tabled a resolution in the Punjab Assembly, condemning the derogatory statements and has called for the removal of Rana Sanaullah Khan from his post.
The condemnation resolution filed by PTI MPA Murad Raas said that using abusive language against his political rivals has become Sanaullah’s habit and he should be removed from his post as law minister forthwith and should be called into account for using derogatory remarks against PTI women.
Giving his stance on the resolution, Rana Sana said he has always held the struggle waged by political women in high esteem. “I have only pointed out the difference between PTI congregations held in 2011 and on April 29. In 2011, families which waged political struggle participated in the PTI public meeting and in April 29 public meeting, these women were seen nowhere.”
Jibing at Imran, he said that how much respect Imran Khan gives to women is known to all.