01:38 GMT19 April 2021
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    Deeply conservative Pakistan often views victims of sexual abuse with suspicion, with much of the country abiding by an "honour" code of traditional justice, where women who bring "shame" on their family can be subjected to violence or murder.

    Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has triggered a backlash after blaming surging rapes cases in the country on women's choice of dress. 

    Appearing in a weekend interview on live television, Khan acknowledged that incidents of rape of women had “actually very rapidly increased in society,” suggesting this was the consequence in any society where “vulgarity is on the rise,” AFP cites him as saying.

    The former international cricketer and captain of Pakistan's national cricket team advised women to cover up to prevent temptation.

    A woman clad in burqa walks in the hallway of the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi, also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sehwan Sharif, in Pakistan's southern Sindh province. (File)
    © REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro
    A woman clad in burqa walks in the hallway of the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi, also known as Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in Sehwan Sharif, in Pakistan's southern Sindh province. (File)

    Referencing a term describing modest dress or the segregation of the sexes, he went on to say:

    “This entire concept of purdah is to avoid temptation, not everyone has the willpower to avoid it."

    His words prompted hundreds to sign a statement that circulated online on Wednesday denouncing his “factually incorrect, insensitive, and dangerous” comments.

    “Fault rests solely with the rapist and the system that enables the rapist, including a culture fostered by statements such as those made by (Khan),” the statement reads. 

    ​A similarly strong-worded response came from The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

    “Not only does this betray a baffling ignorance of where, why and how rape occurs, but it also lays the blame on rape survivors, who, as the government must know, can range from young children to victims of honour crimes,” it said.

    The prime minister’s words also irked the Twitterverse, despite some comments suggesting the politician had a "valid point."

    ​Many used social media to deplore the “excuse for rape” that was being offered by Khan.

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    Rape, rape, Rape, Imran Khan, Pakistan, Pakistan
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