Can't connect right now! retry
Saturday Jun 06 2020

Rehman Malik denies Cynthia Ritchie’s ‘shameful’ rape allegation


Former interior minister Rehman Malik on Saturday denied American blogger Cynthia Ritchie’s rape allegation against him, calling it “baseless, shameful, and inappropriate”.

The PPP senator's spokesman, in a statement, said that the purpose behind the allegation was to damage Malik’s reputation.

In a video broadcast live on Facebook a day ago, Ritchie alleged that in 2011, when the party was in power, the then interior minister Malik had raped her while two others — Yousuf Raza Gillani and Makhdoom Shahabuddin — had “manhandled” her at a separate occasion.

“The US woman made the inappropriate allegations against Rehman Malik upon the instigation of a certain individual or a group,” said the spokesman.

Malik had always raised his voice against Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir and against India’s mistreatment of its own minority Muslims, he said. The spokesman also said the PPP senator always spoke up in favour of women’s rights.

The spokesman alleged the accusation against the PPP leader came after Malik, as chairman of the Senate Standing Committee for Interior, took notice of claims made against the late Benazir Bhutto.

Ritchie’s tweets some time ago about Bhutto had not gone well with the PPP leadership, and had sparked a social media spat between her and various PPP leaders. The feud came to a head on Friday after Ritchie took to Facebook to level the several serious allegations against the party’s senior leadership.

Following the startling video, in a subsequent textual post on Facebook, Ritchie said that the alleged rape incident had occurred at the accused’s residence in Islamabad’s Minister’s Enclave in 2011, “around the [time of the] OBL (Osama Bin Laden) incident”.

However, she said she did tell someone about the incident at the US Embassy in 2011, but “due to ‘fluid’ situation and ‘complex’ relations” between Washington and Islamabad, she said the response “was less than adequate”.

US Embassy responds

In response to Ritchie’s claims about approaching the US Embassy after the alleged incidents, a spokesperson for the embassy, said: “The American Embassy provides adequate services and support to all Americans in Pakistan.”

“We cannot comment on the affairs of citizens located in Pakistan in a personal capacity,” added the spokesperson.

'Can a PM ever commit such an act?'

Meanwhile, responding to the allegations against him, former premier Gillani asked: “Can a prime minister ever commit such an act at the Aiwan-e-Sadr?”

“What was the lady levelling such accusations doing at the Aiwan-e-Sadr?” he continued, adding: “Who gave her the right to accuse politicians like this?”

He said responding to such statements would be “contemptuous”.

He noted that Ritchie had recently levelled several accusations at former Pakistani prime minister and late party leader Benazir Bhutto and “no one can tolerate such accusations”.

“I am not worried about what was said about me. I am more concerned about the baseless accusations levelled at Shaheed Benazir.”

“Ali Haider Gillani and Ali Qasim have approached the court in this regard,” he said.

PPP moves FIA against Ritchie over ‘slanderous’ remarks

Earlier, the PPP had requested the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Wing to take immediate action and initiate proceedings against Cynthia D. Ritchie for “extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks” regarding Benazir Bhutto.

“Through this application, it is brought to your notice that a woman, who goes by the name of Cynthia D Ritchie on Twitter has passed extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, through her Twitter handle/account,” the letter dated May 28 read.

“Her remarks being false, untrue, defamating and slanderous as they are, have caused immense pain and agony to the millions across Pakistan who revere and hold Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in high esteem,” it said.

“Your office is requested to take immediate action and initiate proceedings against this woman as prescribed by the law and under your mandate. A photocopy of the tweet, a true portrayal of her sick and disgusting mind is attached with the application,” the letter added.