IHC gives interior ministry 3 weeks to decide Cynthia deportation case

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday told the interior ministry to decide in three weeks whether US blogger Cynthia Ritchie is to be deported or not, a few months after she allegedly made slanderous allegations against the PPP leadership. 

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah was conducting the proceedings of a petition filed by a PPP supporter Iftikhar Ahmed who is seeking Ritchie’s deportation on grounds that her visa has expired. 

The American citizen has drawn the ire of the PPP for issuing remarks against the party’s leadership, which ultimately led to a war of words between the two sides with Ritchie accusing former interior minister Rehman Malik of raping her. 

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Minallah said it was yet to be ascertained either Cynthia was working with the government or any other institution, adding there was a dire need to dispel the impression that any institution was behind the issuance of her disapproving remarks.

In an earlier hearing, the court was told that Ritchie’s visa had expired in February and since then she has been staying in Pakistan with an invalid visa.

IHC quashes Ritchie’s plea against FIA inquiry

Separately, Ritchie had moved the High Court a few months ago, in a bid to stop the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from registering a case against her.

The move came after the Additional District and Sessions Judge (ASJ) Jahangir Awan had directed the FIA to register a case against Ritchie, who has levelled harassment and rape allegations against the PPP leadership. 

The plea, however, was quashed by the IHC. The court said that it could not interfere in the FIA’s investigations and ordered the agency to continue its probe into the US blogger according to law.

Ritchie accuses PPP leadership of ‘harassment’ and ‘manhandling’

In a video broadcast live on Facebook a few months ago, Ritchie had alleged that senior PPP leader Rehman Malik had raped her while two others had “manhandled” her at a separate occasion.

She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 when the PPP was in power, and when the individual she accused of rape had been a senior minister.

Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani (who has publicly responded to the allegation) — had “physically manhandled” her when the latter “was staying the President House”.

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