Islamabad, 30 May 2020: Former Senator Pakistan Peoples Party Sehar Kamran has asked Pakistani authorities to take immediate notice of the activities of Ms. Cynthia D Richie, and the initiation of a process for her immediate deportation from Pakistan, as well as declaring her a persona non grata.
Senator Sehar Kamran asked Mr. Wajis Zia, Director General, Federal Investigation Agency, Mr. Sohail Mehmood, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Lt. General Faiz Hameed HI (M), Director General, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) five questions regarding Cynthia D Richie in a letter addressed to them separately.
The letter reads “As you may be aware, via the platform of her social media accounts (Twitter handle
@CynthiaDRitchie) Ms. Ritchie has been playing an incendiary role, with what appears to be the aim of inflaming public sentiment, provoking widespread anger and offense among a significant portion of the population, as well as the millions of Pakistanis both at home and abroad who follow, love and respect Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
‘Her derogatory and libelous comments are becoming increasingly offensive and dangerous, ranging from her outrageously false allegations against a globally respected, twice elected democratic leader – and the first female Prime Minister within the Muslim world – to maligning one of the largest political parties in the country by insinuating its connections with anti-state entities. A thorough review of her profile highlights how this is far from the first time Ms Ritchie has sought to instigate controversy.
‘The problem is not one of a lone individual expressing unsavory personal opinions; Ms Ritchie has – as demonstrated by her continuing presence in the country and bravado – a large sphere of influence, both nationally and internationally. Her seemingly innocuous comments are actively humiliating the nation with regard to the state of women and human rights in the country. Furthermore, the imagery presented by her pictures with military leadership and senior bureaucracy, and access as a foreign tourist to generally sensitive locations (FATA, Kashmir, etc) is deepening the civil-military divide by unnecessarily implicating national institutions as her support base. It may be useful at this juncture to further investigate all of Ms Ritchie’s activities, which I am certain range beyond her social media commentaries, to protect our national interests. In this regard, the following questions have been raised about Ms Ritchie.
‘I understand that any foreign national residing in Pakistan in generally under strict checks and balances, in light of the country’s sensitive history and location. This ought to be applicable to this American lady as well, whose actions and activities are immensely damaging for national harmony and peace.”
The five questions asked from the three officials of Pakistan government are as follows:
1. Why and in what capacity is Ms Ritchie a resident in Pakistan?
2. What is the nature and duration of her visa status? Who is her sponsor to this end?
3. A regular expat who initially introduced herself as a ‘tourist’ and a ‘belly dancer’ has somehow become embroiled in Pakistani politics, by her own assertion at the highest levels? How?
4. What is the purpose behind her provoking public sentiment, and furthering bitterness in an already politically polarized society? Furthermore, why is her vitriol targeted towards Sindh, and has conveniently emerged at a time when the Province was receiving praise and support for its efforts in the fight against COVID-19?
5. What is the official Government policy on the continued presence of such suspicious characters in Pakistan?