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There has been public outrage over Tariq Jamil’s derogatory remarks against women and the youth of Pakistan at the Prime Minister’s telethon on April 23. Politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists, academics, and other members of civil society have condemned the religious leader Maulana Tariq Jamil and Prime Minister Imran Khan for blaming the youth and women for the spread of COVID 19 virus.

In a scathing attack on the media, Jamil alleged in the presence of leading TV anchors at the telethon that journalists across the world lie and mislead the public. Although the anchors did not respond at the telethon, they took to their screens on their respective tv stations to condemn Jamil, which compelled the cleric to apologize on talk shows for his accusation against the media that they lie.

However, he neither apologized nor was asked to apologize over the derogatory remarks he made in the same telethon against women and the youth, where he blamed their ” behaya” ( shameless) lifestyle for the spread of the COVID -19 virus.

voicepk.net over the weekend spoke to many prominent personalities who demanded an apology from Tariq Jamil for blaming the youth and women for the spread of the virus.

Here are some of the reactions that were floated under the hashtag #OnlineJaloos on Pakistan’s first digital media platform covering human rights and legal issues, @voicepknotnet.

Human rights activist, Tahira Abdullah gave one of the strongest reactions to Tariq Jamil’s remarks on women and youth.

“Tariq Jameel is not just a patriarchal chauvinist or simply sexist, but he is actually and truly a hateful misogynist. Shame on him for saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has been caused by women wearing “indecent dress” and studying in private schools/universities.

Bigger shame on Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan for not objecting or protesting at this Charlatan’s hateful, illegal, unconstitutional anti-women tirade.

Biggest shame on all the gathered male and female journalists and anchors, for neither protesting nor objecting there and then – and not even calling out Tariq Jameel on their respective talk shows, or on social media.

So medical science, technology, and epidemiology have been thrown into the garbage can – the one and only cause of this pandemic is Pakistani Muslim women’s “bay-hayaayi” (immorality and obscenity) & education?

I call for Tariq Jameel to be arrested and tried for violating Article 25 & 25-A of the Constitution.

I urge all tv/radio channels to boycott and ban Tariq Jameel forever.

We, Pakistani civil society activists and human rights defenders, call upon the Government of Pakistan to immediately disown Tariq Jameel’s hateful anti-women and anti-education remarks on live television yesterday.”

Prominent rights activist and a senior lawyer, Hina Jilani condemned Tariq Jamil’s remarks on women calling them absurd & insensitive. She also condemned the journalists and Prime Minister Imran Khan for letting it happen under their watch.

Veteran politician and former senator, Afrasiab Khattak called Tariq Jamil’s derogatory remarks against women & youth a result of extremist mindset created during Zia-ul-Haq’s martial law.

President Women Democratic Front Balochistan, Lawyer, and a rights activist, Jalila Haider said such remarks have hurt the sentiments of half of the already oppressed population.

Journalist, Mehmal Sarfraz said women have to face all kinds of abuse in everyday life hence influential people Tariq Jamil shouldn’t be making such statements.

A former member of the parliament from KP, Bushra Gohar said it was shocking that such a statement was even allowed to be aired on national television.

Another Lawyer, Saroop Ijaz of the Human Rights Watch said the government should only give such platforms to people who can battle the pandemic with scientific methods instead of people like Tariq Jamil.

The executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation, Nighat Dad said it doesn’t suit someone like Tariq Jamil to make such statements because this kind of narrative promotes violence against women.

Social activist and journalist, Nayab Gohar Jan said someone as influential as Tariq Jamil should be more responsible while making the kind of statements about women and the youth.

The executive director of Asma Jahangir legal aid cell, Nida Aly questioned that where are such statements little girls like Zainab are abused and murdered in the same country while responding to Tariq Jamil’s statement.

Veteran human rights activist from the Women’s Action Forum, Rubina Saigol said it only shows his ignorance and regression as a pandemic has nothing to do with what women choose to do.

Academic and an Artist, Meera Hashmi said that may God show the right path to Tariq Jamil and anyone else with such a mindset.

A Lawyer and an academic, Imaan Zainab Mazari said such people’s religion begins from a woman’s clothes and ends at her body. It is unfortunate that such statements have been normalized in the name of religion.

Anchorperson, Arifa Noor said we should not only distance ourselves from people and views blaming women for any tragedy but also stop listening to such people altogether.

Rights activist, artist, and an Academic, Salima Hashmi say women are suffering the most due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it is unfortunate that now they’re being targeted like this.