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US blogger Cynthia Ritchie asked to leave Pakistan within 15 days

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry has ordered American blogger Cynthia Ritchie to leave Pakistan within 15 days after rejecting her request for a visa extension.

Ritchie confirmed the news and said that the Ministery of Interior has rejected her visa application for the first time in ten years without giving any reason. She said she will file an appeal and a “higher forum” must entertain her application and grant visa.

On 10th July, the Islamabad High Court had asked the Interior Ministry to decide on a petition seeking to deport Cynthia Ritchie after she was passed derogatory remarks about former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The IHC had also urged the ministry to decide upon Ritchie’s stay in Pakistan and the extension of her visa. In an earlier hearing, the court was told that her visa had expired on 31st August.

In May, Ritchie had alleged that senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik had sexually assaulted while two others had manhandled her on a separate occasion She had stated that the incidents occurred in 2011 when Rehman Malik was the interior minister.

Ritchie had further alleged that two other senior party leaders including a federal minister and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani of physically manhandled her.

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