IHC asks interior ministry to decide whether Cynthia should be deported or not

Deputy attorney general submit interim report to court, says petitioner has not appeared before interior ministry. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the interior ministry to decide on a PPP petition seeking to deport US blogger Cynthia D Ritchie as per the law.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah was conducting the proceedings of a petition filed by a PPP supporter Iftikhar Ahmed who is seeking Ritchie’s deportation on grounds that her visa has expired.

Deputy Attorney General Syed Mohammad Tayyab Shah submitted an interim report on behalf of the federal government, telling the court that the petitioner has not appeared before the interior ministry about his plea.

To which, Justice Minullah remarked: “This is a sovereign state, we are watching the conduct of the ministry”.

He further said that there was no reason for proceedings as “the law should take its own path”.

Justice Minullah asked the interior ministry to decide upon the plea according to law.

The court directed the parties in the case to appear before the ministry on Wednesday at 1pm and record their statements.

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.

The US blogger, along with her lawyer, also appeared before the court. In an earlier hearing, the court was told that Ritchie’s visa had expired earlier in February and since then she has been staying in Pakistan with an invalid visa.

IHC quashes Ritchie’s plea against FIA inquiry

Separately, Ritchie had moved the High Court last month, in a bid to stop the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from registering a case against her.

The move came the Additional District and Sessions Judge (ASJ) Jahangir Awan had directed the FIA to register a case against Ritchie, who has levelled harassment allegations against the PPP leadership after a public spat with the party.

The plea, however, was quashed by the IHC. The court said that it could not interfere in the FIA’s investigations and ordered the agency to continue its probe into the US blogger according to law.

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

In a video broadcast live on Facebook last month, 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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