American blogger accuses Pakistan's Zardari govt officials of rape, harassment; former minister denies charges

WION Web Team Islamabad, Pakistan Jun 06, 2020, 11.12 AM(IST) Edited By: Deeksha Teri

Cynthia D. Ritchie Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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While she has not revealed the evidence and proof yet, she has assured that she will soon be revealing all of the mentioned evidence in a week or two.

An American blogger and former social media strategist of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has accused a former interior minister and former prime minister of rape and sexual assault -- through Facebook lives and a series of Twitter posts -- even as the former official has denied charges.

Cynthia D. Ritchie, who shifted to Pakistan from America in 2010, revealed the details and the threats through a Facebook live video. (The user has advised for parental guidance, and has mentioned trigger warning)

Cynthia D. Ritchie first visited Pakistan in 2009. She claims to have been invited by then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and then Interior Minister Rehman Malik to help in building Pakistan’s image. She said she was a communications consultant to the PPP. 

As things were going well, she shifted to Pakistan towards the end of 2010, and now resides in Islamabad.

However, things were not all rosy for her in this long journey, she claims. She has accused Rehman Malik of raping her in 2011, after lacing her drink with sedatives. She also accused former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin of physically manhandling her inside the President’s House in Islamabad.

Pakistan was then under the government of Asif Ali Zardari.

However, former prime minister Gilani has denied the charges, and has called the allegations a form of "humiliation and disgrace". He has further accused Cynthia of maligning him because his two sons had filed a defamation case against her for her allegedly defamatory tweet against late Benazir Bhutto. 

The other two ministers have not yet replied to the accusations.

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As she went live on Facebook on Friday, she backed her accusations by providing details and sequences of the events listed in her video. She also claimed to possess evidence in form on screenshots, text messages and call recordings. “I will be happy to go into more detail with an appropriate, neutral, and investigative journalist,” she said.

While she has not revealed the evidence and proof yet, she has assured that she will soon be revealing all of the mentioned evidence in a week or two. However, she did upload screenshots of her WhatsApp conversation with Nasir Rashid Baralvi, Secretary Information, PPP, UAE, after filing a report against him in the UAE.

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She also claimed to have complained to the US Embassy in 2011. However, "due to 'fluid' situation and 'complex' relations between US and Pakistan, response was less than adequate."

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Revelations pour in

This is not the first shocking news that Cynthia has revealed. While this is a personal tragedy for her, she has also revealed images of members and leaders of PPP in situations which are not considered to be idle in "Muslim community".

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The freelance filmmaker and social media strategist had also posted parts of the book “Indecent Correspondence: Secret sex life of Benazir Bhutto" on Twitter. She highlighted the parts of the book which reveal details of private lives of Benazir Bhutto, her son and current PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto and senior party leader Sherry Rehman.

She also accused the late Benazir Bhutto of letting her guards rape women and made some disturbing accusations of the late leader's sex life. She also revealed a receipt of an adult toys store and challenged senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman to prove her allegations to be false.

While she claims to "have a lot of dirt on a lot of people in this country”, she has also accused PPP of sending rape and death threats to her, her friends and family. In her live video, she also mentioned that few party workers contacted her sisters who 'naively' revealed her location as they were unaware of the situation.

(With inputs from agencies)