Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) is shocked by the irresponsible and sexist remarks by former Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding senior journalist and NewsOne anchorperson Gharidah Farooqi. For a politician and the head of one of the largest political parties in the country to make such remarks about a woman journalist is condemnable and the Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf must issue a clarification.

According to The News, Khan spoke to a delegation of the National Press Club and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists on October 18 in Islamabad.

In a tweet, Farooqi shared that during the meeting, during a question regarding the trolling and attacks on journalists, Khan replied: “If Gharidah Farooqi shoves herself with men then this will happen.”

As per The News, in response to a complaint about the harassment of women journalists during rallies of the political party, Khan said that “he would issue strict directions to his party workers in this regard”.

Additionally, Khan referenced Farooqi and said: “Gharida Farooqi enters the crowd and then complaints of harassment”.

Such a remark is akin to telling a woman she was asking for the abuse that she experienced. It is an irresponsible statement that is likely to justify further attacks or abuse of women journalists online or during PTI rallies.

As the head of the political party, Khan should be condemning and taking action against harassment at his rallies or by his supporters. Instead he is offering a justification for them and further making a senior journalist a target of abuse.

We urge the political party to ensure that women journalists are able to work safely during events held by the party and are not the target of harassment at rallies. We also urge the former prime minister to consider the implications of his remarks and what they can mean for the safety of journalists. Instead of justifying and further encouraging the abuse of a journalist, Khan should be striving to achieve the opposite.

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