A controversy stirring the national debate is one surrounding the premier Imran Khan’s recent choice of words to address the chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has recently ventured into politics and the larger narrative surrounding his presence in the parliament has been that he is a child as opposed to the other senior members, which is why most often his remarks are ignored. However, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan referred to Bilawal Bhutto as “Sahiba” in his recent address in Wanna, South Waziristan. While the term itself is not derogatory but the reference certainly is because implying that being a woman is derogatory is not the sort of remark a 21st-century politician should be making.

This is especially true for a country which is considered the 6th worst country for women in the world. This is because the understanding that women are beings with an agency is largely absent and if the premiere of the state carelessly passes such remarks, he reinforces the notion that it is alright to undermine the intellectual capacity of a gender, which is then directly linked to the violence and suppression faced by the gender in the country.

Another aspect to consider here is how this statement is reflective of the lack of acknowledgment for the state of women in the country. The ruling party does not have prominent female figures leading any women-centric movements or bills. In fact, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assembly recently passed a bill against the Aurat March, which shows that ideological groundwork is absent based on which women-centric laws and policies can be pursued. It is important for the ruling party to identify these issues and evolve accordingly.

At the same time, another important aspect is the evolution of politics of the premiere. As the Prime Minister of the country, people have certain expectations from his politics. After he assumed power, his speech signified that he will be above menial politics which targets personal attributes. The politics of the premiere of the state should revolve around policies and ideas that can help the state and be answerable to the policies being pursued. A premiere is the representative of the state and is held in high moral esteem. He should be an epitome of an exemplary character and should be able to disengage from politics which takes the narrative away from imminent issues.