ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry told the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday that American blogger Cynthia Ritchie is not involved in any anti-state or illegal activities and can legally stay in Pakistan till August 31.
The report by the ministry was submitted to the IHC as a hearing took place on a petition seeking to deport the American citizen.
The ministry representative told the court that Ritchie is not involved in any anti-state or illegal activities and the visa for foreigners had been extended by the government till August 31.
The IHC was informed that Ritchie has already filed an application seeking an extension in her visa and the decision regarding the matter will be taken after August 31.
The court also directed the ministry to share the report with the petitioner.
‘Ministry tried to mislead the court’
Former Punjab governor and lawyer Latif Khosa, while commenting on the report, stated that he was not satisfied with the document presented by the ministry.
Khosa alleged that the interior ministry had tried to mislead the court. The former Punjab governor also alleged that the interior secretary was not taking action according to law. “The secretary interior should be forced to take action in accordance with the law,” he said.
Khosa said the report had stated that Ritchie’s visa was valid and also that she was not involved in any anti-state activity.
“We will prove that the visa is incorrect and that she is involved in anti-state activities,” said Khosa, adding that the US blogger will have to be deported after being convicted.
Last week, the IHC had asked the interior ministry to decide according to law, on a PPP petition seeking to deport Ritchie.
The IHC also urged the ministry to decide upon Ritchie’s stay in Pakistan and the extension of her visa until July 15 and then inform the court.
Ritchie accuses PPP leadership of ‘harassment’ and ‘manhandling’
Ritchie’s matter landed in the court after the blogger in a video broadcast live on Facebook several weeks ago, alleged that senior PPP leader and former interior minister Rehman Malik had raped her, while two other senior members of the party, including former prime minister Gillani, had “manhandled” her at a separate occasion.
She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 when the PPP was in power, and when Malik, whom she accused of rape, had been a senior minister.
Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and Gillani (who has publicly responded to the allegation) — had “physically manhandled” her when the latter “was staying at the President House”.