PML-N leaders face serious backlash over misogynistic remarks

Opposition PTI demands removal of Rana Sanaullah removal following remarks about women members

Islamabad: Lawmakers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly demanding the immediate dismissal of provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah over his remarks against the party’s female workers.

The PTI also demanded an apology over Sanaullah’s ‘derogatory’ remarks towards women participants of a PTI rally in Lahore on April 29.

In a press conference, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah passed the following remarks about the women who attended the PTI rally: “The women who attended the rally were not from honourable families because their dance moves implied where they had actually come from.”

The misogynistic remarks by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Rana Sanaullah, Abid Sher Ali, and Tallal Chaudhry against women sparked a backlash on social media and in political circles after which the Punjab government has distanced itself from the remarks issued by its leaders.

“Be it Abid Sher Ali, Rana Sanaullah, Tallal Chaudhry or Imran Khan, I cannot tolerate this as these women are our mothers, sisters and daughters” Punjab Government Spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan said.

“What Rana Sanaullah said was wrong. I condemn that. He should not have said it. What Tallal said was wrong. I condemn that” the spokesperson said in an interview to a local TV channel, Express News.

“Irrespective of their political affiliation, [such derogatory language] should not be used against those mothers and sisters who come forward to take part in the political process,” he said.

Another PML-N leader and Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan also voiced his outrage, saying: “Disrespectful remarks about women are reprehensible, regardless of who utters them.”

PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali sparked a controversy over disrespectful statements uttered in a bid to demean a power show by rival political party PTI in Lahore which is the power base of ruling party.

At a separate conference, Tallal Chaudhry said: “We don’t ask whose house you [Imran Khan] stay at when you visit London. It is another matter altogether what you do over there. When it comes to your wife, she remains veiled, but our mothers and sisters are for display?”

Also on Sunday, after the April 27 scuffle between Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali and PTI’s Murad Saeed during budget speech, Sher Ali made an insulting comment about PTI senior leader Shireen Mazari when she asked him to keep the distance.

Ms Mazari claimed that she was ‘almost physically attacked’ before PTI’s Murad Saeed came to help her. “Murad was perfectly correct because PMLN’s Abid Sher Aliand a few others encircled me and almost attacked me physically so Murad came to my aid and Abid Sher Ali hurled some filthy abuses at him as well as threatening to hit him” she said on Twitter. However, Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal belittled the claim, saying no one had attacked Shireen Mazari.

Later, Abid Sher Ali reportedly used disrespecting remarks about both PTI leaders. Referring to Shireen Mazari as “Tractor Trolley”, PML-N leader stated that he told her that “there is nothing to touch in her” when she asked him to keep the distance.

PTI chairman Imran Khan condemned the remarks by the opposing PML-N’s leaders against his party’s female members.

“In the past 30 yrs these people have always disrespected women which is against our religion & culture,” he said, as he thanked the women in his party for turning out in large numbers for the historic Minar-e-Pakistan rally on Sunday night where Khan laid out an 11-point agenda for the prosperity of country.

PTI’s vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi also “strongly condemn(ed) the disgraceful and disgusting statements of Rana Sanaullah & Abid Sher Ali against PTI women” on Twitter. “The party is proud of its women. They are the flag bearers of our movement and a source of inspiration for all of us” he added.

PML-N leaders’ sexist remarks cause social media outrage

The incident indicating the lack of respect for women political leaders and workers, has sparked criticism on social media:

“Verbal abuse and harassment by Rana SanaUllah must be taken notice of. He is only intimidating women political workers and must be stopped” tweeted Wajeeha Javed.

Anam Aleem Khan, a communications consultant, said she was “disgusted and enraged by the filthy language used for women by Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali. I hope we rise above our political affiliations and unite to raise hell against such vile behaviour.”

Wasim Saqib, a political activist, suggested that voting against the party was the solution. “Shame on Rana SanaUllah and Abid Sher Ali for abusing Shirin Mazari. Hopefully people won’t have to tolerate these low life, uncouth criminals anymore after the elections. Vote these criminals out people.”


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