A prominent Pakistani cleric, Maulana Tariq Jameel, has blamed "women's obscenity" for the coronavirus. The misogynistic remarks from the cleric were made on live television in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to reports, the cleric was a television guest during a fundraising event that was also attended by the Pakistani PM.
While speaking at the television show, Tariq Jameel blamed women who "were often scantily dressed" for the spread of coronavirus. He said these kinds of women and their behavior brought the wrath upon the country. The Pakistani Prime Minister didn't speak a word to correct the cleric's misogynistic remarks.
At the very beginning of his remarks, Tariq Jameel had acknowledged the presence of PM Imran Khan. "The prime minister is here, media anchorpersons are here... Do we consider how we are going to face the day of judgment due to our deceitfulness?" the cleric said just before he put the blame of coronavirus pandemic on "scantily dressed" women.
Pakistan's Human Rights Commission took strong exception of the cleric's statement against women and said that it was appalled by Jameel's remarks and termed them "blatant objectification" of women.
"HRCP is appalled at Maulana Tariq Jamil's recent statement inexplicably correlating women's 'modesty' to the Covid19 pandemic. Such blatant objectification is unacceptable and, when aired on public television, only compounds the misogyny entrenched in society," the commission wrote on Twitter.
"Remarks were blown out of proportions"
After facing backlash from all the quarters, the cleric accused media of blowing his remarks on women out of proportions. He apologized to media persons for calling them liars during the same show but not for his remarks against the women.
Pakistan's Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazar termed the idea that the pandemic is a result of women wearing short sleeves or because of private schools and universities misleading the youth as "absurd".
"This simply reflects either ignorance (about) pandemics or a misogynist mindset. Absolutely unacceptable," she wrote on Twitter. "We will not accept the targeting of women on the pretext of such ludicrous accusations."