–Cynthia Ritchie claims ex-interior minister raped her at house in ministers enclave in 2011
–Court summons US blogger, FIA, PTA on PPP’s complaint
ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister and senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Rehman Malik on Saturday denied American blogger Cynthia Ritchie’s rape allegation against him, calling it “baseless, shameful, and inappropriate”.
In a statement, the PPP leader’s spokesman said that the purpose behind the allegation was to damage Malik’s reputation.
In a video broadcast live on Facebook a day ago, Ritchie alleged that in 2011, when the party was in power, the PPP senator had raped her while two others — former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin — had “manhandled” her at a separate occasion.
“The US woman made the inappropriate allegations against Rehman Malik upon the instigation of a certain individual or a group,” said the spokesman.
Malik had always raised his voice against Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir and against India’s mistreatment of its own minority Muslims, he said. The spokesman also said the PPP senator always spoke up in favour of women’s rights.
The spokesman alleged the accusation against the PPP leader came after Malik, as chairman of the Senate Standing Committee for Interior, took notice of claims made against the late Benazir Bhutto.
Ritchie’s tweets some time ago about Benazir Bhutto had not gone well with the PPP leadership, and had sparked a social media spat between her and various PPP leaders. The feud came to a head on Friday after Ritchie took to Facebook to level the several serious allegations against the party’s senior leadership.
Following the startling video, in a subsequent textual post on Facebook, Ritchie said that the alleged rape incident had occurred at the accused’s residence in Islamabad’s Ministers’ Enclave in 2011, “around the [time of the] OBL (Osama Bin Laden) incident”.
However, she said she did tell someone about the incident at the US Embassy in 2011, but “due to ‘fluid’ situation and ‘complex’ relations” between Washington and Islamabad, she said the response “was less than adequate”.
In response to Ritchie’s claims about approaching the US embassy after the alleged incidents, a spokesperson for the embassy, said: “The American Embassy provides adequate services and support to all Americans in Pakistan.”
“We cannot comment on the affairs of citizens located in Pakistan in a personal capacity,” added the spokesperson.
Meanwhile, responding to the allegations against him, former premier Gilani asked: “Can a prime minister ever commit such an act at the Aiwan-e-Sadr?”
“What was the lady levelling such accusations doing at the Aiwan-e-Sadr?” he continued, adding: “Who gave her the right to accuse politicians like this?”
He said responding to such statements would be “contemptuous”.
He noted that Ritchie had recently levelled several accusations at former Pakistani prime minister and late party leader Benazir Bhutto and “no one can tolerate such accusations”.
“I am not worried about what was said about me. I am more concerned about the baseless accusations levelled at Shaheed Benazir.”
“Ali Haider Gillani and Ali Qasim have approached the court in this regard,” he said.
JUDGE SUMMONS RITCHIE, FIA, PTA:
Meanwhile, an Islamabad judge, who is also a justice of peace, has summoned Cynthia Ritchie, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on June 9 in relation to a complaint filed by a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) local leader.
Raja Shakeel Ahmed, who heads PPP in Islamabad, had filed a complaint at Secretariat Police station but no action was taken, the court was told. Similarly, party office-bearers from the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan also registered complaints with FIA and PTA.
Senator Sehar Kamran of PPP had also complained to the DG FIA and asked a few questions like what kind of visa was issued to Cynthia and on whose agenda she is staying in Pakistan.
According to the CrPC, the Justice of Peace is a district and sessions judge or an additional district and sessions judge nominated by the former assigned the additional task of keeping peace in the area.
The judge “on receipt of information of the occurrence of any incident involving a breach of the peace or of the commission of any offence within such local area” will make inquiries into the matter. His powers extend to handling complaints, issuance of recommendations to the duty police officers regarding registration of criminal cases, and transfer of investigation from one officer to another.