Cover Story

The Loud American

If Cynthia Ritchie fails to prove her case, the state needs to know why she made the allegations.

September 2020

Cynthia Ritchie, who first came to Pakistan in 2010 and has more or less resided here since then, describes herself as an “American freelance director, producer and writer” on her social media accounts. She hit headlines after she accused several members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of sexual assault. On 7 June, Ritchie went on air with stunning accusations, alleging she was raped by the then interior minister Rehman Malik in 2011 and “physically manhandled” by former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and former Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani. The accusations have gripped Pakistanis amid COVID-19.

Her allegations against PPP politicians came on the heels of the party suing her over “libellous” claims she made about the late Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and co-chair of the PPP. On 28 May, Ritchie tweeted that Bhutto would order her guards to rape women who had affairs with her husband. Although the former ministers have denied her accusations, but Ritchie took to Twitter to say she was ready to defend her claims in the court of law.

The opposition in response accused that Cynthia Ritchie worked for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province’s health ministry and collected the samples from Abbottabad when US forces conducted the deadly raid on the compound of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Politicians from the PPP say there is a campaign against them for authoring an amendment to the constitution in 2010, which curtailed presidential power to dissolve governments and ensured autonomy to the provinces. They further criticised the present government and the powerful military of using Ritchie to divert attention from the government’s failure to address the economic crisis and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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