Decoding the sex scandal that has rocked politics in Pakistan

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Jun 09, 2020, 06:51 AM(IST)

Cynthia Ritchie (File photo) Photograph:( IANS )

Story highlights

Cynthia Ritchie, an Islamabad-based US blogger has made allegations of sexual assault against three leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)

Pakistan is in the middle of a sex scandal and three of its Opposition leaders, including a former prime minister have come under scanner. 

Cynthia Ritchie, an Islamabad-based US blogger has made allegations of sexual assault against three leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). 

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

Ritchie has made the allegations during a Facebook Live session. She said that she was raped by then home minister Rehman Malik in 2011, saying that the incident took place at his residence where her drink was drugged. 

She also accused former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of physically manhandling her. Similar allegations have also been made against former federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin. 

Ritchie has also said that these were not the only politicians involved, adding that some of those also belonged to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party of former PM Nawaz Sharif. 

Now, the question is that why a nine-year-old incident has now come to light?

It all began in late May, when Ritchie accused former prime minister Benazir Bhutto of ordering her guards to rape women, who had affairs with her husband,  

PPP filed a complaint accusing Ritchie of hateful comment and slander against their former leader. 

A week later, Ritchie accused PPP leaders of assaulting and raping her. 

Rehman Malik sent a legal notice to Ritchie, accusing her of character assassination. 

In Pakistan, several people have questioned the US blogger's allegations, saying that she is close to establishment and Imran Khan government is using her to divert people's attention from health and economic crisis in the country. 

Some people also question how could she manage to stay in the country for years. Some people also call her a CIA mole. 

Ritchie's pictures with senior military leaders were also shared. 

The blogger says that she narrated the incident to the US Embassy in 2011, but their response was "less than adequate". 

On Twitter, Ritchie's supporters are describing her critics as traitors, anti-Pakistanis. 

WION cannot fact-check the claims, but the scandal has given Pakistan PM an opportunity to launch a political tool against his opponents. 

Also, if Ritchie's claims are right, it exposes an even-darker side of Pakistan's political elite. 

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