Malik decides not to pursue cases against US blogger

Published October 4, 2020
Former interior minister and chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman 
Malik has decided not to pursue criminal and civil cases against US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie.  — Screengrab/File
Former interior minister and chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik has decided not to pursue criminal and civil cases against US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie. — Screengrab/File

ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Interior Rehman Malik has decided not to pursue criminal and civil cases against US blogger Cynthia Dawn Ritchie.

“The decision is in good faith and am making it public today,” the Pakistan Peoples Party leader tweeted on Saturday.

The decision came after his exoneration from rape charges levelled against him by Ms Ritchie.

All her allegations were dismissed by the justice of peace (twice), District and Sessions Court, Islamabad, and by police.

As chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, Mr Malik had taken notice of Ms Ritchie’s derogatory remarks against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, the former minister said: “I with (my) humble nature do not claim victory as it is evident that the lady in question, being under pressure from inimical elements, was forced into levelling these insinuations against me.”

Suggests Cynthia levelled rape allegations against him at the behest of ‘influential elements’

“I therefore, in good faith and moreover, because I honour women and their dignity, regardless of this matter, would not like to pursue this matter further as I have every reason/proofs to believe that Cynthia Ritchie must have levelled these bogus allegations at the behest of influential elements having nefarious designs to malign me & the top political leadership of our country, including first elected lady PM Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto,” Mr Malik said.

“I have decided not to consider for revenge in good faith and I leave this issue to my Allah, to Whom I’m grateful for vindicating my position before my family, friends and PPP leadership and parliament.”

Ms Ritchie had filed an application with Secretariat police station, accusing Mr Malik of raping her at his residence in 2011. Additional District and Sessions Judge Nasir Javed Rana had, however, dismissed her petition.

The blogger then moved the Islamabad High Court against the verdict and IHC’s Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued a six-page order, allowing the petition and setting aside the sessions court order.

For his part, Mr Malik had served a defamation notice to the US blogger and had also filed a Rs500 million defamation suit against her. The second defamation notice had been sent for repeating her allegations.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday rejected Mr Malik’s appeal and upheld the Sept 1 directive of IHC about remanding back for review to the justice of peace the matter involving registration of a First Information Report (FIR) in the rape allegations levelled by Ms Ritchie.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam decided to send back the matter to the Justice of Peace after Advocate General for Islamabad Niazullah Khan Niazi supported the high court’s decision.

On Friday, the US blogger posted tweets through her Twitter handle @CynthiaDRitchie about the court ruling, expressing satisfaction over the outcome.

“It was a good day in Supreme Court. Now awaiting orders from Additional Sessions Court.”

Soon afterwards, she made another post that said: “It may be mentioned … Rehman Malik’s attempts to file FIR/defamation against me are dismissed.

“We’ll continue our fight, including the @HBLPak case where my banking information was leaked online, and use my platform to help others without a voice.”

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2020

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