On Thursday, April 23, well-known cleric and public speaker Maulana Tariq Jameel, while saying a longish prayer at the end of the Ehsaas Telethon, meant to raise funds for the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, alleged that “scantily dressed” were responsible for the spread of Covid19 in Pakistan and that these “immodest actions” have brought the Almighty’s wrath upon the country.
remarks were immediately condemned by a wide range of Pakistani media
personalities, human rights activists and politicians.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) took exception to his comments and in a tweet, the commission said:
As an editorial in Dawn titled ‘Blaming women’ pointed out, Jameel’s misogynistic remarks were made in the presence of the prime minister and top broadcast journalists. “For the maulana to claim that women should be blamed for a global pandemic is not just ill-informed but also inflammatory. The statements are troubling; not only do they betray a deep-rooted misogyny, they were also aired, unchallenged, from a very high-profile platform. This mentality is reflective of society’s unfortunate tendency to marginalise women simply because social power structures allow them to be viewed as ‘lesser beings’. The remarks also reinforce a dangerous yet normalised idea that targeting women is permissible. The reality is that women in Pakistan, and elsewhere, face systemic discrimination and violence. During this pandemic, domestic abuse cases have soared as women are forced to stay home for extended periods with their tormentors. Despite these challenges, women strive to be recognised and shatter glass ceilings — as evidenced by the effective response of global women leaders in this pandemic.”