US Blogger Cynthia Ritchie Given 15 Days To Leave Pakistan
The Interior Ministry has 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 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 MoI -under pressure best known to them- has for the first time, in my over 10+ years in Pakistan, rejected my Visa application. No reason has been given. We have a right to file an appeal & will do so. A higher forum must entertain my application & upon merits grant visa.
— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) September 2, 2020
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.