ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered a Pakistan-based American blogger to stay in the country until the next hearing in a case accusing her of staying without a valid visa.
Earlier this month, the court stayed a Ministry of Interior decision to deport Cynthia Ritchie following the rejection of her application for the visa extension. The blogger subsequently challenged the decision in the high court, claiming the ministry rejected her application “under pressure”.
During the hearing on Tuesday, wherein Deputy Attorney General Muhammad Tayyab Shah represented the federal government, the court directed the ministry to provide records of foreigners deported from the country so far.
Cynthia’s counsel told the court she was not involved in any illegal activity during her stay in Pakistan.
After hearing the arguments, the court ordered that the blogger will stay in Pakistan till the next hearing.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah also questioned the procedure followed for awarding of business visas and requirements sought in this regard.
“How many people the interior ministry has deported so far over the violation of visa?” remarked the judge, adding that there was a need to investigate the allegations of contempt of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto against Cynthia.
The judge wondered if the government was willing to hold a transparent investigation into the allegations, observing the accusation were in fact serious and merit a probe.
Later, the chief justice of the high court adjourned the hearing till October 13.