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Imran defends his remarks on female journalist’s harassment

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  • Statement about female journalist not taken out of context, says Khan.
  • Men are to be blamed if they do anything, he says.
  • We have brilliant women journalists doing great job, says Khan.

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said that his statement regarding journalist Gharidah Farooqi was not taken out of context and that in a society like Pakistan’s, “if you put yourself in that position, you are going to be vulnerable”.

The former premier was talking in an interview with The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner published on Sunday, February 5, titled ‘Imran Khan’s Double Game’.

During the Zoom interview, which covered wide issues from Afghan Taliban and Pakistan’s support of the PTI and its relations with the establishment to Imran Khan’s views on women’s education, the former premier was also asked about his comment regarding Gharidah Farooqi.

While in a response to the question — “Was it taken out of context that you said, about the journalist Gharida Farooqi, who was harassed at a PTI event: what does she expect if she, a journalist, forces her way or goes into male spaces?” — Imran responded with: “No. No. No. It wasn’t out of context”.

The PTI Chairman explained that “it was just in one particular rally where they were all men, and she was right in the middle of this male crowd… anyone who knows Pakistani society, or most sorts of societies like India or Pakistan — if you put yourself in that position, you are going to be vulnerable. It’s just common sense”.

Agreeing that men were to be blamed “if they do anything” he stated: “But also it works two ways… in our society, normally, people would avoid putting themselves in that position. It’s as simple as that”. 

Answering the question regarding how this could be applied to a woman who’s a journalist trying to cover a story, Khan said: “We have brilliant women journalists in this country. They are doing a great job. But they don’t have to put themselves in positions…”

While he expressed a universality about basic political rights, in social spaces women are treated, whether girls are educated, etc, he did not remain as universal. The PTI chairman chose to respond with an explainer on arranged marriage and the boundaries of Western journalism: “Sometimes the problem with Western journalism is that they go into our countries and expect that it should be exactly what it is like in your country.” 

“It’s not like that. Let me just make you understand something. In Pakistan, by far the bulk of marriages are arranged. And arranged marriages are between families. So it’s not a question in this country of going to a nightclub or discos or whatever and girl meets boy. The families put the marriages together. And also the reputation of families matters here. So, when the families are looking to propose, they always look at the reputation of the family and the girl or the boy”, he added.

Regarding his previous statements on how if a woman wears very few clothes, it will ‘have an impact on the man unless they’re robots’, Imran Khan told the interviewer: “How can anyone blame women for rape? …The rapist is always to be blamed… In the case of a woman getting raped, she’s marked for life. But even worse is when children get abused; that stays with them for the rest of their life.”

“The ideas that came forward were, one, that we must bring down the level of temptation in our society because you have a lot of frustrated people”, he remarked.

The former prime minister said, on being asked further on how to bring down the temptation: Temptation is social media. On our mobile phones children now have access to information. But, at the same time, the level of pornographic stuff on a mobile phone, which is available to children of seven and eight years old — never in human history have children been exposed to that.”

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PTI received unwelcome respite, according to Rana Sanaullah

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In the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seat dispute, the government would respect the majority ruling of the Supreme Court, according to PMLN senior leader and advisor on political affairs Rana Sanaullah Khan.

He stated that after examining the decision, the government’s legal team would react appropriately. According to Rana Sanaullah, the legal team would determine whether or not to submit a review petition.

“SIC petitions were rejected but PTI was given that relief which was neither asked in the petition nor contest during the proceeding,” asserted Rana Sanaullah in response to the ruling.

He argued that because parties established administrations with a simple majority, the PMLN-led unity movement did not have a two-thirds majority.

According to Rana Sanaullah, PTI should challenge election tribunal rulings, with the government carrying out the rulings.

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The membership of Sher Afzal Marwat has been suspended by PTI.

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According to sources, PTI officials convened with imprisoned party founder Imran Khan on Thursday to make a decision over Marwat.

The party authorities alleged that Sher Afzal Marwat had been consistently breaching party discipline over the past month.

“In the meeting with Imran Khan, it was mutually agreed that no leader holds a superior position within the party, and any other leaders who deviate from the party’s stance will face similar consequences,” they stated.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has recently issued a show-cause notice to Sher Afzal Marwat due to his irresponsible utterances.

The notice, issued by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan, requires Marwat to provide an explanation for his utterances within a three-day period. These statements have been considered harmful to the party’s reputation.

The notification declares that making such utterances goes against the party’s code of conduct and contravenes the explicit directives of the party’s founder, Imran Khan, who has underscored the significance of accountable conduct.

Marwat was cautioned that if they fail to react or offer a satisfactory explanation, it could result in additional disciplinary measures.

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Supporting phone tapping for “national security,” Khawaja Asif

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In the continuous fight against terrorism, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has stated that he is a strong supporter of security agencies’ phone tapping practices.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, particularly party head Omer Ayub, criticized and engaged in contentious arguments following Asif’s statements.

The significance of phone tapping for national security was emphasized by Khawaja Asif in an interview with a foreign media source. “Terrorism is the enemy that we fight. Given the circumstances, I will be in favor of phone tapping,” he said.

Noting that the phone tapping matter is presently being handled through the legal system, he further urged that everyone support the measure. “Phone tapping is necessary for national security,” he asserted.

By highlighting the PTI’s erratic position on the issue, the defense minister also rejected the party’s concerns as hypocritical.

Every action, whether legal and illegal, seemed acceptable to Imran Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Taliban, when he was on good terms with the authorities.” Asif said, “The same thing is hateful to his followers today.”

In order to prevent terrorism and protect national security, Asif emphasized the importance of phone tapping. Under the present conditions, I will be in favor of phone tapping. The fight against terrorism required it, he declared. In these difficult circumstances, he also urged detractors to think about the wider effects of security precautions.

After former prime minister Imran Khan complained about his phone being tapped, Asif hinted that the PTI’s present protests are politically motivated by pointing to earlier instances in which they had a positive relationship with the establishment.

For the purpose of maintaining national security and preventing any criminal activity, the central government granted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the nation’s premier spy agency, permission to tap phones on July 8. A notification stating that Section 54 of the Pakistan Telecommunication Act 1996 permits ISI to record phone calls has been issued. Anything that falls under the notification category can be recorded by it.

The notice included a call recording feature in addition to the ability to track messages and calls. Subject to the prime minister’s approval, ISI personnel ranked 18th or higher are granted this authority. It will be feasible to record WhatsApp calls, SMS, and other applications in addition to cell calls, the release states.

Notably, on June 30, Justice Babar Sattar of the Islamabad High Court said that it is legally unlawful to monitor civilians in any way in the case of the audio leaks involving the son of former chief justice Saqib Nisar and Bushra Bibi. According to his ruling, the prime minister and the cabinet bear both collective and individual responsibility for the widespread surveillance of four million citizens carried out by the federal government through the system.

The prime minister should acquire intelligence agency reports and bring the issue before the cabinet, the court judgment stated. Furthermore, according to the decision, the prime minister must report to the court on the Lawful Management System within six weeks.

“The prime minister will tell whether the surveillance of citizens is going on against the law and constitution,” the court stated.

Along with identifying who is in charge of the surveillance system that is interfering with citizens’ privacy, he should also disclose who installed the Lawful Interception Management System and mass surveillance. By July 5, all telecom firms were ordered by the court to submit their reports about the Lawful Interception Management System.

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