KARACHI: Tensions between American blogger Cynthia Ritchie and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) reached a fever pitch on Friday after she accused former interior minister Rehman Malik of spiking her drink and raping her at his official residence in 2011.
Ritchie posted a Facebook live video earlier today, not only detailing how the PPP senator allegedly sexually assaulted her but also accusing two other senior PPP leaders of manhandling and harassing her.
Last month, the US national's controversial comments on slain two- time premier Benazir Bhutto sparked uproar within the PPP ranks culminating in a complaint being filed against her with the Federal Investigation Agency's cybercrime wing.
She has since posted photos of other PPP leaders while also making salacious claims about the party’s senior leadership. It has resulted in a lot of hate being directed her way by PPP die-hards on social media.
There is much more. But now I need a few days to rest and be alone with my fiance. I'm tired.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 5, 2020
I ask the PPP leadership @BBhuttoZardari to tell its people to leave my family alone.
I will be ready to meet any and all investigators, as is required by law, as early as next week.
After constantly insinuating that she had her reasons for the mud-slinging, she tweeted that the 'ordeal' took place at Malik's official residence in the Minister's Enclave in 2011 "around when the Osama Bin Laden incident happened".
And, yes, I did tell someone at the UsEmb in 2011, but due to 'fluid' situation and 'complex' relations between US and Pakistan, response was less than adequate.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 5, 2020
I've been engaged to a wonderful man who I met in 🇵🇰. He encouraged me to speak out, so we can move on as a couple. https://t.co/PpfdF9Fuib
"I thought it was a meeting about my visa but I was given flowers [and] a drugged drink," she claimed, adding that she had "kept quiet" about the incident because "who in the [ruling government] would help me against the [accused minister]?"
#ZardarisFilthyPPP keeps threatening me. Why? 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.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 5, 2020
I have decided to go live on facebook in approximately 30 minutes & continue to tell my story.
Cynthia said she also informed the US embassy in 2011 about the incident, adding that “owing to fluid and complex Pak-US relations, the response was less than adequate".
In the interest of transparency #PPP FIR to FIA request to remove tweet was rejected by twitter.— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) June 4, 2020
Though BB was no saint, my intent was not harm her reputation, simply recognize a vicious pattern of behavior as shown to me by senior PPP members.
Now @cybercrimefia focus on PPP. https://t.co/EJbEU52htR pic.twitter.com/0VEyNTVq3o
The Express Tribune contacted Cynthia, but she did respond till the filing of this report.
In the video, she also made serious allegations against two other senior party leaders — a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, claiming they had "physically manhandled" her when the latter "was staying at the President House".
PPP hits back
Ali Haider Gilani, the former PM’s son, responded to the allegations on Twitter: "Can a prime minister ever commit such an act at the Aiwan-e-Sadr?"
I had gone to the @cybercrimefia against cynthia’s baseless allegations on our party leader, late Benazir Bhutto shaheed. So this #muftkhorcynthia decided to attack my father former prime minster Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. He has responded to her filthy allegation.1/3 https://t.co/oHB8gIW3zj— Ali Haider Gilani (@ahaidergilani86) June 5, 2020
He went on to ask who gave her the right to accuse politicians ‘like this’, adding that even responding to such allegations would be "contemptuous".
He said that Ritchie "should be ashamed of herself for saying such things"."I am not worried about what was said about me. I am more concerned about the baseless accusations levelled at Benazir".
"Later, in a conversation with private news channel Geo News, the former premier said that he had met Cynthia a while back at a diplomat's residence, as well as, at different occasions in large settings.
"I am not aware of her background. She had contacted my son Ali Qadir Gillani a while back. She told my son his father is an honourable man and he should inquire after me on her behalf."