A well-known cleric in Pakistan has said the coronavirus pandemic has been unleashed on humanity because of lies, deceit and dishonesty of people among other things during a telethon to raise funds for for victims of the respiratory disease.
According to news agency ANI, Maulana Tariq Jameel made the comments during the Ehsaas Telethon fundraising event on Thursday, during which Prime Minister Imran Khan was also present.
The religious leader spoke for nearly an hour and said the goal was not to fight against the coronavirus pandemic but to be humble in front of God. He went on to blame the pandemic on the prevalence of lying, dishonesty and betrayals in society, lack of honour and people accumulating wealth through fraudulent means.
“The prime minister is here, anchors are sitting here… Do we consider how we are going to face the day of judgement due to our deceitfulness?” he asked.
“The owner of a very big channel asked me for some advise; I told him to abolish all lies from his channel. The owner replied that the channel would be close but lies would not end… This is not just here, but media the world over is the same,” he said.
He later apologised for that remarks, saying it was a slip of tongue.
“Who has torn honour to pieces in my country? Who makes my country’s daughters dance? Who is asking them to wear skimpier clothes? Whom should I hold accountable for this sin?” he said.
“I seek forgiveness from Allah that I could not make my community understand. When a Muslim’s daughter choose the path of indecency and the youth choose vulgarity… The biggest curse of God was on the people of Lut as they crossed all boundaries of indecency and were cursed five times,” he said.
The Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has pulled up the cleric for his statement against women.
“HRCP is appalled at Maulana Tariq Jamil’s recent statement inexplicably correlating women’s ‘modesty’ to the Covid19 pandemic. Such blatant objectification is unacceptable and, when aired on public television, only compounds the misogyny entrenched in society,” the commission tweeted.
The country widely-read newspaper Dawn wrote in an editorial that statements like this are troubling, adding they are also aired, unchallenged, from a very high-profile platform.
Dawn said that it is a “shame” that the cleric was not corrected when he made these offensive comments.
Cases of domestic abuse cases have soared during the coronavirus pandemic as women are forced to stay home for extended periods with their tormentors.
Pakistan has reported 11,940 cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), including 253 deaths across the country.