Former Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Pakistan Accused of Rape: Cynthia D. Ritchie.
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Former Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Pakistan Accused of Rape: Cynthia D. Ritchie.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister exposing and Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik have come into the fire by being accused of rape and sexual assault. This news has shaken the political landscape of the country and has been making the rounds of all national news channels and gaining traction internationally. The claim comes from Cynthia D. Ritchie, a Pakistan-based American blogger. 

Everything began on Twitter, on May 28, when Cynthia D Ritchie, who has lived in Pakistan for just about 10 years, tweeted declaring that Benazir Bhutto would organize her gatekeepers to “ambush” women with whom her husband Asif Ali Zardari had illegal connections.

While on a Facebook live video, Ritchie alleged that both former ministers were a part of a sexual assault against her. She claimed to have been man-handled by the men. Ritchie claims to have proof of this ordeal and has since taken to Twitter to voice her grievances and story. 

Posted by Cynthia Dawn Ritchie on Friday, June 5, 2020
Cynthia D Ritchie Exposing Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Cynthia D Ritchie Exposing Former Prime Minister Of Pakistan

“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. She also accused ex-prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of “physically manhandling,” her.

Ritchie said she was saving “some more graphic details” since the content might not be appropriate for a young audience. However, she added that she would be “happy to go into more detail” with trusted media professionals.

Ritchie has also stated she has been in touch with the US Embassy here in Pakistan but given her work, she has found it difficult as there are strained relations between the two countries at the moment.

Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani called Ritchie’s character into question.

Former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has outright rejected these allegations and says Ritchie has tried to stain his image, which he will not allow again. He cites his esteemed political positions and all the work he has done for the country as evidence of his character. He would never do such criminal activities. 

Mr. Gillani called Ritchie’s character into question and retorted back asking who gave her authority to put fake allegations on people regarding such unlawful acts. He mentions how Ritchie has been going on a Twitter tirade where she accuses many high-ranking politicians of crimes they haven’t committed. He also referred to Ritchie’s false accusations against the late Benazir Bhutto. 

Ritchie has been using social media to post her side of the narrative with more accusations along with pictures of the meetings between her, Yousaf Raza Gillani and Rehman Malik as proof of the incident taking place. While this is taking place, Mr. Gillani and his team have issued statements about these meetings. Stating that they were merely pleasantries and political meetings as all politicians have. Ritchie still claims them to be insidious.

Rehman Malik has not yet commented on the issue and has been preparing a press release statement, while Ritchie has been using YouTube and Twitter to lead her charge. This silence may end up damaging Mr. Malik’s credibility as the former Prime Minister was fast to act on the matter and give his piece.

Many supporters of the PPP have made threats against Cynthia Ritchie’s life. Many on social media have stated that she is trying to defame these men and her story is fictitious and slanderous.  As it stands at the moment, we have Ritchie’s video and pictures as proof of her claim and Mr. Gillani has only issued a statement from his behalf. 

Sherry Rehman, a PPP member in the Senate, the upper house in Pakistan’s parliament, posted on Twitter: “I usually don’t dignify such garbage, but this is libelous, heinous slander based on malicious lies. 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.” Her remarks, being a woman, are important at this stage for her party.

Mr. Malik has asked the news organizations of the country to not report on the case until he can make his point of view known. This has not stopped reports and news stories being written about the situation. He has stated that he believes this to be a political ploy to destabilize the country and bring chaos. He like Yousaf Raza Gillani (Former Prime Minister) believes it is a defamation situation with baseless accusations.

The current situation is little more than he said/ she said and there’s no concrete proof on either side. This ordeal is reminiscent of the #METoo movement which began in Hollywood as women came out with their stories of abuse, sexual assault by high-ranking executives and actors. The movement led to the imprisonment of the notorious Harvey Weinstein, among others. 

The situation plays into the larger culture where women face subjugation by men and have to suffer until they reach a place of comfort where they can point out their abusers. This situation has happened in Bollywood, where actresses have accused actors, singers and writers of the same sexual assault. Another prominent example of a similar case is one where Meesha Shaafi accused widely popular singer, Ali Zafar of sexual assault. That is an ongoing case with both parties now facing defamation lawsuits against each other.  

Ritchie has been at the forefront of other such incidents; she has gained a following on social media for her reporting of how certain political leaders are cheating the system. She has voiced her disdain for the previous governments while showcasing support for the current government. This has led people to label her biased and someone who wishes to political gain from these incidents.

There have been many derogatory statements about Ms. Ritchie. She has often been a target of severe opposition who claim she is anti-Pakistan and is a mole for the US. She tells that her population has witnessed many such xenophobic statements before. She however has repeatedly said she only wishes to tell the people of Pakistan the truth and wishes to see change come. 

Ritchie Used Social Media to Expose Former Prime Minister

Ritchie used Facebook and Twitter to spark this alleged controversy. These are notorious sites known for their lack of fact-checking and misinformation. This situation is sensitive that requires careful consideration when being discussed and reported on. Situations like these are time-sensitive as these lead to mob mentality and online social media cancel-culture can damage lives and careers if there ain’t a proper generation of discourse. Ritchie has stated that she will continue to blacklist other politicians she believes are committing horrible crimes. 

Ritchie has a whooping follower base of nearly 220,000 on Twitter. Hashtag #CynthiaIsPrideOfPakistan was trending top on Friday evening. Political leadership is raising eyebrows at former leaders and asking for justification.

We urge our readers to stay on the side of caution and not jump to conclusions as there is only one side on the story so far. There is still much that is unknown about the case, how the parties came to meet, what urged Ritchie to bring about the issue now rather than in 2011 when it allegedly took place. It is our duty to acknowledge that the incident that Ritchie claims to have happened may well have happened, however, we must take everything with healthy skepticism until actual legal evidence presents itself.

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