ISLAMABAD: A respected American blogger currently based in Islamabad dropped bombshell on Friday accusing Pakistan’s former federal Interior Minister of raping her years ago. She also accused country’s former Prime Minister of physically manhandling her at Presidency.
American blogger’s allegations have took social media in Pakistan by storm on Saturday with majority calling for an independent investigation into the allegations.
Cynthia D Ritchie, a widely respected American blogger, who was at the centre of a controversy last week when she tweeted what the PPP described as “derogatory and slanderous remarks” about slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, accused former interior minister Senator Rehman Malik of having raped her in Islamabad in 2011 — a charge the senior PPP leader has strongly denied.
“In 2011, I was raped by the former interior minister Rehman Malik. That’s right, I’ll say it again. I was raped by the then interior minister Rehman Malik,” she said a live video on her Facebook page. also accusing former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and ex-prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of “physically manhandling” her while Gilani was staying at the “President’s House”.
Gilani also denied the allegations in a statement. The blogger has is a very popular on social media with nearly 220,000 followers on Twitter and a hashtag championing her as a “pride of Pakistan”(#CynthiaIsPrideOfPakistan) was the top trend on Friday evening.
In a tweet before going live on Facebook, the American alleged members of “#ZardarisFilthyPPP” were threatening her because “they know that over the years I have been raped/assaulted by men in the highest ranks of PPP. They don’t want the world to know.”
In another post after her allegations, she said the alleged assault took place at Malik’s house in the Ministers’ Enclave around the time of the raid in which Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed. “I thought it [was] a meeting about my visa but I was given flowers/a drugged drink,” she wrote, adding claiming she “kept quiet” thinking no one in the then PPP government would help her.
“Recently they (PPP members) attacked family; I’ve had it. Ready to face any accuser,” she said, adding that she is now engaged to a man whom she met in Pakistan, and it was him who encouraged her “to speak out, so we can move on as a couple,” Dawan quoted her at saying.
In her video, Ritchie alleged that she has endured harassment “primarily from the PPP” for a number of years now. “I have received countless threats against my life, rape threats, claims that PPP has my father,” she claimed, adding that she has “evidentiary support” of everything she has been posting.
Ritchie also said she had informed about the incident to “someone” at the US Embassy in 2011, “but due to ‘fluid’ situation and ‘complex’ relations between US and Pakistan, [the] response was less than adequate”.