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Ex-PM Gilani denies allegations by US columnist

LAHORE: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has denied all allegations against him by US blogger Cynthia Ritchie who has accused senior members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of rape and sexual assault.
Speaking to an international media outlet, Gilani said that Cynthia Ritchie had levelled baseless allegations against party leader Benazir Bhutto and has made serious accusations against him.
“The real issue is that she (Cythia) used slanderous language against Benazir Bhutto. My son, who is a member of Punjab Assembly, had filed a defamation case against her for the baseless allegations,” he said.
Gilani said that he had recently met Cynthia Ritchie a few months ago and not known her before. He said he met Cynthia for the first and only time at a reception hosted at the residence of a diplomat which he attended with former ambassador Jalil Abbasi Jillani and several other notable people.
Gilani said that even his worst opponents have not raised any allegations against his character like those raised by her.

Cynthia raised allegations against Benazir

Later while he speaking to local media channel, Gilani said that it was unimaginable that a prime minister would ever commit such an act at the President’s House.
He said even responding to such statements would be contemptuous. He asked who has given her the right to raise such kind of accusation against senior politicians.
The former prime minister said that Ritchie “should be ashamed of herself for saying such things” and she will take her to court and use every forum against her.
He said that Ritchie had recently levelled several accusations at former Pakistani prime minister and late party leader Benazir Bhutto and “no one can tolerate such accusations”.
“I am not worried about what was said about me. I am more concerned about the baseless accusations levelled at Shaheed Benazir.”
He said his sons, Ali Haider Gilani and Ali Qasim, have approached the court in this regard.

Cynthia Ritchie’s allegations

Cynthia Ritchie, who now resides in Pakistan, on Friday made the startling accusations againt senior members of the PPP and alleged that former interior minister Rehman Malik raped and sexually assaulted her in 2011.
In a video posted on her Facebook account, Cynthia Ritchie claimed that she was raped by Rehman Malik in 2011 while he was serving as interior minister.
She accused two other PPP leaders, Yousuf Raza Gilani and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, of manhandling her on a separate occasion.
“In 2011, I was raped by former interior minister Rehman Malik, I will say it again, I was raped by then interior minister Rehman Malik. I was physically manhandled by the federal health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin and prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, while he (Gilani) was staying at the president’s house,” Cynthia can be heard saying in the video.
She added that she would share details with investigative journalists and that she has already shared the story with people she trusts including a member of the US embassy.
Cynthia said that incident happened in Minister’s Enclave and it was probably a meeting about her visa where she was given flowers and a “drugged drink”. PPP leader Rehman Malik has not responded to the allegations.
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