The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted its reply in court on Tuesday after a petitioner had claimed that the agency was not taking action against the US blogger for her unsavoury remarks against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Additional Sessions Judge Ata Rabbani in Islamabad heard the case as a duty judge. The petitioner said that the FIA is not taking action on a complaint filed against Ritchie for slandering PPP leader Benazir Bhutto on social media.
The court issued a notice to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and a reply has been sought from the authority on the matter till June 13.
Talking to media, the counsel for the petitioner said that the FIA has agreed to register the case against Ritchie. The court said that they also issued notices to the US blogger and demanded an answer on her allegations against the slain PPP leader, Benazir Bhutto.
Ritchie’s tweet about the late Benazir had prompted a war of words between her and PPP supporters and party leaders on social media a few days ago. On Friday, she made headlines after an explosive statement in which she accused former interior minister Rehman Malik of raping her.
Ritchie’s letter to FIA
Meanwhile, contents of a letter Ritchie wrote to the FIA after a complaint was filed against her by the PPP, emerged a few days later.
“I am a freelancer and pay taxes to FBR and report my income to IRS in USA. I am not on government payroll. I take projects (such as KP Dept of Archaeology/Engro/and some cleared NGOS) as matters of personal and professional interest,” she wrote, adding that she has been in Pakistan for “10+ years”.
She said she has been working on an “investigative film”.
“To be fair, I’ve wanted to do a documentary on Bilawal as a potential future leader. I have no interest in fighting PPP,” Ritchie said.
Last week, the PPP advocate had moved a complaint with the FIA’s cybercrime wing against Ritchie for her “slanderous” remarks against late party leader Benazir Bhutto.
“Through this application, it is brought to your notice that a woman, who goes by the name of Cynthia D Ritchie on Twitter has passed extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, through her Twitter handle/account,” the letter dated May 28 read.
“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 said.
“Your office is requested to take immediate action and initiate proceedings against this woman as prescribed by the law and under your mandate. A photocopy of the tweet, a true portrayal of her sick and disgusting mind is attached with the application,” the letter added.
Malik, PPP leaders deny accusations
Former interior minister Malik has vehemently denied the rape accusation, terming it “baseless, shameful, and inappropriate”.
The PPP leader’s spokesman, in a statement, said that the purpose behind the US blogger’s allegations was to damage the reputation of Malik.
“The US woman made the inappropriate allegations against Rehman Malik upon the instigation of a certain individual or a group,” said the spokesman on behalf of the former interior minister.
Gillani, too, had flatly denied the allegations.
“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 had said, adding: “Who gave her the right to accuse politicians like this?”
He had said that 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,” Gillani had said.