Imran Khan Has Normalized Prejudice in Pakistan

July 2, 2021

In an article published recently in The Diplomat titled, “Imran Khan Has Normalized Prejudice in Pakistan” RFI Senior Fellow and former Member of the Pakistani Parliament Farahnaz Ispahani discusses how the Pakistani prime minister and his party colleagues are fueling intolerance toward religious minorities in the country. 

Ispahani begins by describing egregious instances of prejudice the current government has exhibited. She writes:

[D]escribing bin Laden as a martyr, linking rape to ‘vulgarity’ and women’s dress, and pretending that China’s brutalities against Uyghurs is not a problem were not merely slips of the tongue; they reflect the Pakistani prime minister’s worldview. Khan has blamed victims before for inviting rape through their behavior. And he has gone to the extent of claiming that he does not know much about the Uyghur problem.

She then provides statistics that show high levels of religious persecution under the Khan administration:

In the first two years of Khan’s administration, 31 members of religious minorities were killed, 58 were injured, and 25 targeted by blasphemy cases. Pakistan’s reality under Khan defies claims, made at the time of his election of office, that he represents an opportunity to reshape Pakistan’s image.

Ispahani concludes by asserting:

Khan’s statements, and those of his party colleagues, must not be ignored. They reflect a worldview that, when translated into policy, will only make Pakistan less tolerant for its citizens and more difficult for its international partners.

Read the full article: Imran Khan Has Normalized Prejudice in Pakistan.