PAKISTAN – Women’s protests against premier Khan

“If a woman is wearing very few clothes it will have an impact on the man unless they are robots. It’s common sense.”

… with these words the prime minister of Pakistan explained the current “rape epidemic”, as the high increase in rape cases in the country has been dubbed.

In November 2020, a study was conducted stating that 11 rape cases are reported in Pakistan every day, with 22 000 reported to police in the last 6 years.

Even on July 3rd, a minor was gang-raped near the city of Kasur. This was the fourth case of rape of a minor in several days. Before, the region had been home of the most horrific cases of sexual abuse of minors. Already in October of 2020 a police chief admonished a gang-rape victim for driving at night without a male companion, which caused mass outrage. The woman, a French-Pakistani mother, had been assaulted in front of her children on the side of a motorway after her car ran out of fuel.

Premier Imran Khan had made such remarks before. Like before, they have sparked the just outrage of the women of the people.

Many women posted pictures of the clothes they wore when they were assaulted, going to show that it is not the clothes that make the attack happen, but patriarchy. Back in 2020 there had been nation-wide protests after the motorway incident. Now again, there have been protests in the cities of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. The common practice of “virginity tests” to confirm if a woman was raped has been banned in 2021, which is an achievement of the protests.

The “rape crisis” is part of the general situation in Pakistan for women. The women are double exploited and oppressed, under a highly reactionary semi-feudal patriarchy, which is part of the national oppression of Pakistan. It is one of the thick ropes the Pakistani people are bound with. Women are often subjected to to violence and murder for bringing the ‘shame’ and ‘dishonor’ onto their families of being raped. This is what the prime minister legitimizes with his remarks.

The country regularly ranks among the worst places in the world for “gender equality”. But for all the truth inside the criticism of the “western” imperialist agencies, like the UN, those remarks have to be cathegorized as hypocritical. At the root of patriarchy is not “Islamism”, which is only an expression of it. Neither is it a lack of “western democracy”. If we look at India, we can see similarly horrific patriarchal violence against women, under the Hindu-fascist ruled “biggest democracy in the world”, as it is called in “western” media. Like in India, the answer for the struggling women of the people in Pakistan is to unleash their just anger as a powerful weapon for the new-democratic revolution!