US blogger Cynthia working on Pakistan army's media wing projects, court told - GulfToday

US blogger Cynthia working on Pakistan army's media wing projects, court told


Cynthia D. Ritchie

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

The government has informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie is working on film projects in collaboration with the military’s media affairs wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government.

The official report stated that Ritchie “informed in her application that she had been working with Walkabout Films in collaboration with ISPR and the KP government on various film projects in the country.

She further stated that she was waiting for complete documents for the formal extension of her business visa for one year which may take a few more days therefore she requested for a temporary extension of 30 days in her visa.”

“She also attached a letter no. 01/IAAD/2018 dated Dec.27, 2018 from ISPR stating that Walkabout Films Private Limited is undertaking various projects in collaboration with ISPR and she is working with Walkabout Films on some projects,” the report said.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar submitted that Ritchie’s visa stood extended till Aug.31 and she had not committed any illegality or any undesirable or anti-state activity as alleged.

A petition against the US blogger filed in the Islamabad High Court said that her business visa expired on March 2, 2020 and she was not entitled to stay in Pakistan afterwards.

The business via had been granted on March 18, 2019 without fulfiling the legal formalities, the petitioner alleged, adding that she also misstated information in her visa extension application submitted to the Ministry of Interior after the expiry of her business visa in March.

The petitioner referred to various activities of the respondent and her media statements and social media posts, which according to him were derogatory and objectionable.

According to the government report, Ritchie denied all the allegations against her, and stated that her visa expired on March 2, 2020 and she submitted an application before the date of expiry. However, due to COVID-19 situation, no extensions were being processed and all foreigners were granted extension.

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