KARACHI: During his address to a public gathering on Saturday, former PM Imran Khan’s unbecoming remarks about his arch-rival Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, sparked a controversy, with many — including some of the PTI chief’s staunchest supporters — criticising him for his extremely poor choice of words.
During his speech at the Multan jalsa, Mr Khan said: “Someone sent me a clip on social media of Maryam’s speech, somewhere. She took my name so many times and with so much passion, I want to tell her that Maryam, please be careful, your husband might get upset the way you call my name again and again.”
His shocking statement came in the wake of Ms Sharif’s relentless tirades against the former prime minister and his wife, Bushra Bibi.
The misogynistic remarks were bound to draw the ire of opposition parties.
Speaking to reporters in London, Nawaz Sharif said Imran Khan “doesn’t know the first thing about respect for mothers and daughters.” He maintained that for someone who frequently quotes the example of the state of Madina, Imran Khan has no idea about the status and respect accorded to women in Islamic societies.
In a separate statement, former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the comments. He said that it did not behoove respectable people to use such language, adding: “For God’s sake, please don’t stoop so low.”
“I wish someone would write to the chief justice with a personal observation on this matter so he would take notice of the issue,” Mr Zardari concluded.
Even Mehr Tarar, who served as an aide in the Punjab government of Usman Buzdar and is a staunch supporter of Mr Khan, decried his comments.
“Imran Khan’s comment on Maryam Nawaz is in utterly bad taste, something he should never have said about anyone anywhere. And I condemn it without resorting to any whataboutery,” she tweeted on Friday night.
In an apparent knee-jerk reaction, the PML-N’s verified Twitter account tweeted a photo of Tyrian White alongside his sons with the caption: “all it takes is a little empathy Imran Khan but you are absolutely devoid of it”.
However, the tweet was swiftly deleted once people started condemning it.
Many PTI supporters also drew attention to the fact that when leaders such as Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman had launched similar attacks on PTI women in the past, they could not claim the moral high ground.
“He probably said it in jest, but it was bad in taste,” said Baydil Niazi, an ardent Imran Khan supporter.
Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2022