Former Pak Minister Threatens To Sue American Blogger

desicanuk

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Islamabad: A high profile American blogger has sparked a political storm and been threatened with a £240 mn defamation case after accusing a former interior minister of raping her. Cynthia Ritchie's allegations have captivated Pakistan and follow a bitter public dispute with the former minister's party. The accusations have pitted Rehman Malik, interior minister for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from 2008 to 2013, against an enigmatic Islamabad-based US blogger with a huge social media following.
Ritchie's novelty as a white American woman espousing trenchant pro-Pakistan and anti-opposition views has won both curiosity and a wide audience. Her attacks on opposition figures and activists and her appearances in photographs with the military have led opponents to allege she is a paid propagandist, co-opted to attack anyone dissenting with the government.
She used a Facebook broadcast earlier this month to allege Malik drugged and attacked her at his official residence in 2011. Other senior leaders of the PPP had “manhandled” her on other occasions, she said. The allegations, which have been denied by all of the accused, have electrified the country's deeply polarised political world.
During an 11-minute broadcast earlier this month she claimed she had been raped by Malik in 2011 when the PPP was in power. She had also been “physically manhandled by former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani while he was staying at the president’s house,” she said.
Giving more details later, she said the alleged attack took place at Malik's official residence around the time Osama bin Laden was found and killed by American special forces while he was hiding in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad. She alleged Malik had sent his driver to pick her up so they could discuss the status of her visa. On arrival she was given a bouquet, a mobile phone or tablet as a gift and a spiked drink. She soon became dizzy and he suggested she lie down. When she woke later, she said he was raping her.
She did not report the alleged attack to police, fearing no one would believe her, but said she told the American embassy where the response was “less than adequate”. The embassy declined to comment. Ritchie began her social media career in Pakistan saying she was attempting to redress the country's unfair international image as a hotbed of extremism and violence. As time has gone on, she has also launched attacks on opposition figures and dissidents.
She accused one prominent human rights activist of prostituting girls. She has also said she is investigating a civil rights movement in the tribal borderlands which complains about military abuses and has found it is engaged in "anti-state activities".
Ritchie late last month caused fury in the PPP when she made allegations that Benazir Bhutto, a former prime minister from the party, had ordered her staff to rape women suspected of having affairs with her husband.
The party launched legal action against her and complained to the cyber crime wing of the country's federal investigation agency. Ritchie says she has been harassed and threatened by PPP activists who have also targeted her family.

 

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