Notice issued to FIA on PPP leader’s plea against US blogger

Updated 07 Jun 2020


US blogger Cynthia Ritchie passed extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, accuses the party. — FB screengrab/File
US blogger Cynthia Ritchie passed extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, accuses the party. — FB screengrab/File

ISLAMABAD: An additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) of Islamabad has issued a notice to the deputy director of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cyber crime cell on an application filed by Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) district president seeking registration of a criminal case against US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie.

PPP leader Advocate Raja Shakeel Abbasi filed the application before ADSJ Jahangir Awan under Section 22-A of the Criminal Procedure Code, under which the court may direct the investigation agency to register an FIR.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Abbasi said that notices had been issued to the blogger and the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority since he cited both of them as respondents in the application.

In the application, Mr Abbasi said that FIA did not register FIR on his complaint against the blogger who defamed the slain chairperson of the PPP and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Rehman Malik rejects Cynthia’s allegations

While the PPP and Ms Ritchie have been at loggerheads on Twitter and Facebook for sometime, the latter accused former interior minister Senator Rehman Malik of raping her back in 2011. She also accused former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Shahab, a former health minister who is currently being tried in an ephedrine case, of physically manhandling her.

Mr Gilani, Mr Malik and Makhdoom have rejected her allegation.

In his complaint, Mr Abbasi urged the FIA’s cyber crime cell to take action against Ms Ritchie for posting on her Twitter account what he described as derogatory and slanderous remarks about Benazir Bhutto.

The complainant stated that Ms Ritchie had passed extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Benazir Bhutto through her Twitter handle/account.

“Her remarks being false, untrue, defamating and slanderous as they are, have caused immense pain and agony to the millions across Pakistan who revere and hold Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in high esteem,” it added.

“Your office is requested to take immediate action and initiate proceedings against this woman as prescribed by the law and under your mandate.”

The court will take up the matter on June 9.

Since ADSJ Awan would be on leave on the said date, this case may be heard by ADSJ Syed Faizan Haider Gillani, an official of the district court said.

‘Mala fide intentions’

A spokesperson for Senator Malik has rejected what he called baseless and wild allegations by Ms Ritchie against the senator.

In a statement, the spokesperson said that Senator Malik had endorsed a statement by former prime minister Gilani wherein he had denied the allegations levelled by Cynthia Ritchie.

He said Senator Malik had denied these allegations against him, claiming that Ms Ritchie had levelled the allegations to malign and scandalise the senator with mala fide intentions. He said she had levelled the allegation of rape against Senator Malik after nine years at the “instigation of a group” only to harm his reputation.

According to the spokesperson, some tweets from Indian agency RAW directly threatening Senator Malik already hinted at some dirty moves against him as the senator had “stood up against Indian Prime Minister Narednra Modi” and was committed to the Kashmir cause.

He said Senator Malik considered it below his dignity to respond to Ms Ritchie’s allegations.

“The senator respects all women, including her, and hence will not use any derogatory remarks. He has always fought for the rights and dignity of women.”

The spokesperson said Ms Richie’s move appeared to be a reaction to Senator Malik’s action as the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior regarding her derogatory remarks against Benazir Bhutto.

Senator Malik’s sons have asked their lawyers for legal action against Ms Ritchie.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2020