FILE PHOTO Imran Khan © REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Pakistani PM Imran Khan minced no words while calling his political opponent ‘madam,’ but the remark didn’t sit well with local netizens who accused their premier of sexism and misogyny.

Imran Khan unloaded on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), while speaking to a crowd of supporters on Wednesday.

I came to power through struggle and hard work unlike Bilawal Sahiba [madam] who, using the will of her mother, became the head of political party.

Khan, a former cricket player, apparently tried to add insult to injury as he accentuated Bhutto’s privileged background. The PPP chairman was born to a family of former President Asif Ali Zardari and murdered ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

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Before joining Pakistani politics, Bhutto preferred to keep a low profile, focusing on finishing his history degree at Oxford University. This year, the 29-year-old politician is running for parliament for the first time.

Footage of Khan attacking Bhutto spread quickly on social media, stirring up quite a backlash.

Very, very small. Calling Bilawal Bhutto Sahiba (madam) doesn’t belittle him at all. It just demonstrates Imran Khan’s lowness, indecency, and sexism. An insult to the office of the PM.

— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) April 24, 2019

Some slammed the “poor and misogynist” remark while others even went as far as to call it “fascist.”

Poor and misogynist statement by pm against @BBhuttoZardari calling him sahiba . We don’t expect this kind of language from anyone and off course PM

— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) April 24, 2019

A single speech of Bilawal is enough to scare the crap out of Imran. So easy to get on his nerves and lay bare his misogynist and fascist tendencies. #NotMyPM#PMSelect

— Maleeha Manzoor (@MaleehaManzoor) April 24, 2019

As the day progressed, Khawaja Asif, a former defense minister, also joined the online brawl, claiming the jibe represented Khan’s “real language.”

This is his real language…reflect his inner self

— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) April 24, 2019

Bhutto himself responded to the insult later in the day, writing, “What was that about small men in big offices?”

What was that about small men in big offices? #PMSelect

— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) April 24, 2019

However, some netizens gave Khan the benefit of the doubt, arguing it was simply a slip of the tongue.

For all the people having mini heart attacks on Imran Khan reffering to Bilawal Bhtto as Sahiba, can be a slip of tongue, a few examples here:

— Adeel Raja (@adeelraja) April 24, 2019

Here comes another slip of tongue @ajmaljami@yazdanifauzia . Because, we in media in general and PPP leaders within party had always used Shaheed for Bhttos. Pls guys just listen this one.

— Khawar Ghumman (@Ghummans) April 24, 2019

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