Former ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has written to the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), seeking action against Pakistan-based American blogger and columnist Cynthia D Ritchie over her “hateful comments and slander” against the late former prime minister (PM) Benazir Bhutto.
As per the details, Ritchie made the comment on a tweet discussing the recent violent confrontation between model Uzma Khan and a woman named Amna Usman, who accused the model of having a relationship with her husband of 13 years and used this allegation to justify her violent treatment of the model.
Ritchie’s tweet garnered a strong reaction from PPP leaders and supporters, with Sherry Rehman saying, “Attributing such filth to a champion for women’s rights, a martyred prime minister degrades the writer of this bot-handle more than anything else.”
While Ritchie is since continuing her tirade against the PPP over the micro-blogging website, former PPP senator Sehar Kamran has written to spymaster Faiz Hameed, seeking an investigation into the “notorious activities” of Ritchie.
In the letter, a copy of which is available with The Current, Kamran highlighted how the American columnist has “time and again instigated controversy” and is also playing a role in “deepening the civil-military divide”.
“The imagery presented by her pictures with military leadership and senior bureaucracy, and access as a foreign tourist to generally sensitive locations ([erstwhile] FATA [Federally Administrated Tribal Areas], Kashmir, etc) is deepening the civil-military divide by unnecessarily implicating national institutions as her support base. It may be useful at this juncture to further investigate all of Ms Ritchie’s activities, which I am certain range beyond her social media commentaries, to protect our national interests,” read the letter.
The excerpt was followed by a list of questions:
- Why and in what capacity is Ms Ritchie a resident in Pakistan?
- What is the nature and duration of her visa status?
- Who is her sponsor to this end?
- A regular expat who initially introduced herself as a ‘tourist’ and a ‘belly dancer’ has somehow become embroiled in Pakistani politics, by her own assertion at the highest levels? How?
- What Is the purpose behind her provoking public sentiment, and furthering bitterness in an already politically polarised society?
- Furthermore, why is her vitriol targeted towards Sindh, and has conveniently emerged at a time when the province was receiving praise and support for its efforts in the fight against COVID-19?
- What is the official government policy on the continued presence of such suspicious characters in Pakistan?
While the PPP leader also sought Ritchie’s deportation, here’s what the blogger hit back with:
As neither side appears to be going easy on each other, a war of words is continuing over Twitter.
Separately, in a letter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), an advocate at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Islamabad president of the PPP, Shakeel Abbasi, has also sought action against Ritchie for her “very derogatory and slanderous remarks” about Bhutto and former president Asif Ali Zardari’s marital life.