ISLAMABAD: An additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) on Monday admitted for hearing the legal suit filed by former interior minister Rehman Malik for the recovery of Rs50 billion damages from US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie for defamation.
ADSJ Atta Rabbani stopped Ms Ritchie from posting defamatory material against Mr Malik on social media and summoned her in person on July 13.
Ms Ritchie and Mr Malik are at loggerheads since the former accused the latter of raping her in 2011. She also alleged that Mr Malik had tried to harass her. Last week, after attending the proceedings in the Islamabad High Court, the blogger had claimed that Mr Malik had told her “horrific stories” about the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto. However, Mr Malik promptly denied this claim.
It may be mentioned that a local court of Islamabad has already issued a directive for the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to proceed against Ms Ritchie for posting defamatory material against Ms Bhutto on her social media accounts.
Mr Malik had earlier served Ms Ritchie a legal notice, stating that due to the “false, frivolous and baseless allegation” his reputation had “adversely suffered at the national and international level”. He said he had a right to “redeem his position” after Ms Ritchie’s TV appearances.
Mr Malik, through the notice, has demanded Ms Ritchie pay him Rs50 billion in damages, a “prompt” withdrawal of the allegations “in the same manner in which [they were] released and posted on social, print and electronic media” within 15 days of receiving the notice, as well as an “unqualified apology”.
The court after initial hearing on Monday asked Mr Malik to deposit the process fee of the court within two days.
“Summons be issued to the defendant for July 13, 2020 in lieu of UMS….Till next date of hearing the defendant is restrained from publishing any defamatory material against the plaintiff,” it ordered.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2020