At some point I can’t help but feel sorry for PTI supporters. Many of them are well intentioned, but hopelessly confused. Take as an example statements by President PTI Punjab Women chapter Saloni Bokhari and others calling for implementation of legislation regarding women’s protection. Certainly this is an important issue, but they seem confused about the facts.
Don’t they know that their leader Imran Khan rejected legislation regarding women’s protection? Don’t they know that he has glorified the tribal jirga system – the same type of ‘insaf’ that includes gang rape?
Imran Khan may say that he supports women’s empowerment, but the devil is in the details. What exactly does Imran Khan believe women should be empowered to do? What does Imran Khan believe is women’s role in society?
Along with his growing faith, Imran rethought a lot of his views on social issues, such as the place of women in society. He tries to tread a line in his political life between an appeal to the faithful and an attempt not to undermine his charismatic credibility in the West. He puts his argument for a woman’s place being in the home in cultural terms.
‘I always think that one of the biggest mistakes made by the feminist movement is that they have devalued motherhood,’ he says. ‘My father was in business and away a lot when I was a child; my mother was all-powerful. The unconditional love, the security it gives you in life is irreplaceable. In England I saw that the side-effect of this feminism was that children lost out on this incredible education and security, which no one else can provide.’
Women’s empowerment does not stop at honouring motherhood. Real empowerment means giving women the support to balance her family and a career if she chooses. My mother also gave unconditional love, and she also mad a job that she was proud of. I never lost any education or security because my mother worked. Her strength of character and unwillingness to be bullied by men who believed they knew better than her what was good for her family is what gave me the self-confidence to go to university to improve my own education. It was her showing that a woman does not have to choose between family and career that taught me that my own future was my own to choose.
PTI may have never had success at the ballot box, but Imran Khan did manage to get elected once. And it was in his role as an elected politician that he opposed legislation regarding women’s protection. He may be willing to tell people whatever they want to hear as part of his ‘tsunami’ strategy, but look at his statements when he didn’t think elections were on the line and you get a better picture of his true beliefs. Imran Khan has very strong beliefs about certain issues. Women’s empowerment is not one of them.