Musharraf's remarks on rapes criticized
Pakistani leader urged to apologize

By Zeeshan Haider, Reuters | September 17, 2005

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Outrage mounted in Pakistan and abroad yesterday over President Pervez Musharraf's comment that many Pakistanis felt that crying rape was an easy way to make money and move to Canada.

Prime Minister Paul Martin of Canada has already condemned the remarks made by Musharraf, who is in the United States having addressed the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Amnesty International, the human rights group based in London, said Musharraf should apologize, and newspapers in Pakistan decried their leader's attitude.

Musharraf told The Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday that Pakistan should not be singled out on rape issues as other countries had the same problems. ''You must understand the environment in Pakistan. . . . This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped," the Post quoted Musharraf as saying.

Dawn, Pakistan's leading English-language daily, criticized Musharraf in an editorial headlined ''Wrong thing to say".

''If this attitude, of blaming rape and other crimes against women on women themselves and ridiculing NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] that take up such issues, begins to travel upward from ignorant mullahs and male chauvinists to permeate the higher echelons of the administration, then God help us," it said.