Sessions Court Directs FIA To Lodge FIR Against Cynthia


Sessions court directs FIA to lodge FIR against Cynthia

The court has passed the order on application of PPP leader seeking registration of case against US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie over charges of making serious allegations against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.  

ISLAMABAD: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-June 15th, 2020) A sessions court directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct an inquiry against US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie for allegedly defaming former Prime Minister on social media here on Monday.

Additional District & Sessions Judge Jehangir Awan passed the order on petition moved by PPP leader Advocate Raja Shakeel Abbasi.

During the proceedings, the judge observed that Ritchie did not deny that she had posted the tweet, and therefore, a crime was committed falling under Peca Act 2016".

The FIA was, therefore, competent to probe the matter further in accordance with the law.

“FIA has been directed to proceed in accordance with the law, conduct an inquiry and if there is sufficient material, register an FIR,” the judge observed.

The judge also observed that the allegations leveled against former Prime Minister Benazir were made 12 years after the PPP leader's assassination. The judge said that the US blogger “never agitated this fact before any competent authority and even not disclosed on the media,”.

The judge also observed that this stage after lapse of 12 years her Ritchie’s disclosure to malign the character of deceased leader was apparently based on mala fide.

The FIA had earlier argued that under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, only “aggrieved” persons were qualified to file such a petition, the verdict said, explaining that in the present scenario, word 'aggrieved' was used instead of “legal heirs”. The court had held that Benazir was “leader of millions and ex-prime minister of Pakistan, thus anyone from her followers can be treated as aggrieved person”.

Earlier, Ritchie’s counsel had argued that the tweet by her client was fake. But Ritchie said later that her lawyer misrepresented her by telling the court that the tweet was fake.

“I never said my tweets were fake,” Ritchie tweeted, pointing out that Khan was suddenly demanding Rs 2 million from her.

“We were supposed to file a criminal report today against Rehman Malik. Now, suddenly Mr Khan is demanding 20 lakh rupees from me — even though this matter was managed by a 3rd party,” said the US blogger.

Previously, the FIA had refused to lodge FIR against Ritchie when PPP leader Abbasi approached the agency over her hateful comments and slander against Benazir Bhutto.

Abbasi said she had posted on Twitter “very derogatory and slanderous remarks” about Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari’s marital life.

Ritchie made the comment on a tweet discussing the recent violent confrontation between model Uzma Khan and a woman named Amna Usman, who accused the model of having a relationship with her husband of 13 years and used this allegation to justify her violent treatment of the model.

Ritchie's tweet had garnered a strong reaction from PPP leaders and supporters, with Senator Sherry Rehman saying: "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."

While the PPP and Ritchie have been at loggerheads on Twitter and Facebook for sometime, the latter accused former interior minister Senator Rehman Malik of raping her back in 2011. She also accused former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Makhdoom Shahab, a former health minister who is currently being tried in an ephedrine case, of physically manhandling her.

Both Gillani and Malik have served her with defamation notices.

Fida Hussnain

Fida Hussnain is a lahore based journalist. He writes on politics, religion, social issues and climate change. He is also a research fellow at University of Gujrat.