US blogger Cynthia Ritchie asked to leave Pakistan in 15 days by interior ministry

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry on Wednesday rejected US blogger Cynthia Ritchie’s request to extend her visa in Pakistan and asked her to leave the country in 15 days.

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The Islamabad High Court on July 10 had asked the Interior Ministry to decide on a petition filed by a PPP leader, seeking to deport US blogger Cynthia D Ritchie after she was accused by the party of making derogatory remarks about former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The IHC had also urged the ministry to decide upon Ritchie’s stay in Pakistan and the extension of her visa.

In an earlier hearing, the court was told that her visa had expired on August 31.

Ritchie accuses PPP leadership of ‘harassment’ and ‘manhandling’

In a video broadcast live on Facebook in May, Ritchie had alleged that senior PPP leader Rehman Malik had raped her while two others had “manhandled” her at a separate occasion.

She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 when the PPP was in power, and when the individual she accused of rape had been a senior minister.

Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani (who has publicly responded to the allegation) — had “physically manhandled” her when the latter “was staying the President House”.

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