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Rehman Malik Moves SC Against Court Order Allowing Cynthia To File Case Against Him

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik has moved the Supreme Court against an Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict wherein the high court allowed US citizen Cynthia Ritchie to file a criminal case against Malik for allegedly sexually assaulting her nine years ago.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court, the former minister said that the allegations levelled by the respondent were incomplete and thus this does not make out a case for rape, as the necessary ingredients to constitute the offence of rape were absolutely missing from the complaint, reported Geo News.

Malik pleaded that the high court failed to consider that complaint was registered after an ‘ordinate delay’ of more than nine years. He questioned that after such a long delay how can ‘veracity and sanctity be attached’ to the claims, especially when the case started after the petitioner took suo moto notice of Cynthia’s allegations against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

He said that the matter was also examined by the Superintendent Police (SP) who too found the allegations unsubstantiated and false.

Backstory:

On June 17, Cynthia had filed an application with the Secretariat Police Station, seeking registration of a rape case against Malik. She had alleged that Malik raped her at his residence in 2011. Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Nasir Javed Rana had, however, dismissed the petition.

Subsequently, the US blogger went to the high court against the verdict. On Wednesday, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Wednesday issued a six-page order that overruled the sessions court order.

“The petition filed by the petitioner [Ritchie] shall be treated as pending. The learned Sessions Judge, Islamabad (West) is expected to assign the matter to a designated Ex-Officio Justice of Peace, other than the judicial officer who had passed the impugned order, dated 05-08-2020,” Justice Minallah had said.

The high court also suspended the order of the interior ministry that had asked Cynthia to leave Pakistan within 15 days.

On Sept 2, the Interior Ministry asked US citizen Cynthia D Ritchie to leave Pakistan within 15 days, as it rejected her request for an extension in her stay in the country.

Responding to the decision, Cynthia had said the ministry decided against her ‘under pressure best known to them’. She said she will file an appeal against the decision and demanded that ‘a higher forum must entertain my application’ and grants her ‘visa upon merit’.

The decision of the ministry came in response to a directive by the Islamabad High Court, wherein it had asked the government to decide on a petition filed by a PPP leader that sought deportation of Ritchie. The PPP moved the court after the US filmmaker made derogatory remarks about former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Ritchie also accused former PPP’s PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, former interior minister Rehman Malik of sexual assault, and Makhdoom Shahabuddin of manhandling her in 2011. The accusation has been denied by the PPP leaders.

In July, the interior ministry told the high court that Cynthia Ritchie was working on film projects in collaboration with the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

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