PPP Information Secretary Nafisa Shah on Thursday slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan's misogynistic remarks about PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and called on male parliamentarians to not dismiss it as an issue that is just relevant to women.
Prime Minister Imran, while addressing a public gathering in Wana, South Waziristan, yesterday, had referred to Bilawal as a sahiba ─ a respectful mode of address for a lady.
He had said: "Unlike Bilawal sahiba, I didn’t come into politics through a chit like the last will of his mother [slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto] that gave him the political party in inheritance. I founded my own party. My aim is to defeat corrupt people. There will be no leniency for those who had plundered national wealth."
As the National Assembly session resumed today, female MNAs gathered at the speaker's dais and raised a ruckus over the premier's remarks.
Nafisa Shah, who addressed the Lower House today, strongly condemned the misogynistic remarks made by the premier at the public gathering yesterday and said that if he did not take them back, she would be forced to say that he is not her prime minister.
Dr Shah said that female MNAs had decided in a caucus yesterday that they would not play politics when it comes to women's issues and called on them to support each other in such matters.
She asserted that calling Bilawal sahiba does not amount to humiliation or an insult of his character, caste or party, and noted that the reactions the premier's misogynistic remarks sparked on social media were not not from the PPP or its workers, but from sensible segments of society.
"This humiliation, misogyny and hatred is not against the PPP or Bilawal," she pointed out. "This is a reflection of misogynistic thinking."
Dr Shah described the attempt to humiliate Bilawal by ascribing feminine qualities to him in an insulting manner as an insult to the women of Pakistan ─ who make up half the population ─ and the cultural values of the country.
She said that the country and its culture respected women and men in the different roles they assumed, whether father, mother, sister or wife etc.
"This respect is a part of our core values, and I ask those from the tribal areas: Is it not in your core values that you respect women?"
The MNA called on male members of the Lower House not to dismiss the matter as just a women's issue.
"It's an issue of our own 'unvalue' [sic] of honour," Dr Shah said, adding that it was also an embarrassment to the post of prime minister.
She added that the explanations issued after the premier's remarks were also sad and called a "slip of [the] tongue".
"How many slips of tongues will you have?" she asked.
The National Assembly also passed the Elections (Amendment) bill, 2019. It was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan. The house will now meet tomorrow morning at 10:30am, Radio Pakistan reported.