Cynthia D. Ritchie, a blogger and self-described adventurer based in Pakistan, has made several allegations against the opposition Pakistan People’s Party in recent weeks.
Ritchie, an American, had tweeted that former Pakistan prime minister and late PPP supremo Benazir Bhutto had made her guards rape women. Ritchie even posted lurid details of the sex life of Benazir and other PPP leaders in late May, after which the party registered a police complaint against her.
On Friday, Cynthia D. Ritchie uploaded a Facebook Live video to speak of her continuing row with the PPP. In it, Ritchie claimed, “In 2011, I was raped by then interior minister Rehman Malik. I was physically manhandled by federal health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and prime minister Yousaf [Raza] Gilani while he was staying at the President’s House”. Gilani was head of a PPP-led government from 2008 until he was ousted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2012.
Ritchie claimed the alleged incident happened in Islamabad’s Ministerial Enclave area “around the time of the OBL [Osama Bin Laden] raid in 2011”. Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces in a raid in Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Ritchie said she had narrated the assault on her to the US embassy in Pakistan, but the response was “was less than adequate” given the complicated ties between Pakistan and the US at the time due to the Bin Laden raid.
Ritchie claimed she moved to Pakistan in 2010 at the invitation of the PPP when Asif Ali Zardari, husband of Benazir, was president and Gilani was prime minister.
Ritchie said “Initially, things were pleasant” during her stay in Pakistan. But the PPP started to attempt to “draw her away” when she began assisting the Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf Party of current Prime Minister Imran Khan on their “social media strategies” in late 2010-2011. Ritchie declared she had “evidence” to back her allegations.
Responding to the claims, Gilani was quoted by The News, a Pakistani publication, as saying, “A person of my stature cannot think of it [abusing Ritchie]. I may have gone to Presidency to meet the president or with a delegation, and how could such nonsense thing happen there?”
He declared, “I am not worried about what was said about me. I am more concerned about the baseless accusations levelled at Shaheed Benazir [Bhutto].”
PPP leaders claim Ritchie was levelling allegations against the PPP at the behest of the ruling dispensation of Imran Khan. Ritchie, a communications consultant, was reported to be close to many figures in the Pakistani political and military establishment.
Confirming for the first time an official involvement of the United Arab Emirates in the I…