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A US-based blogger Cynthia Ritchie challenged the decision of the Interior Ministery of not giving her a visa extension by submitting a petition in Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday.

In the petition, Ricthe stated that she met the criteria for the visa extension. She further claimed that there is no solid reason behind the decision of the interior ministry. The petition nominated Interior Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director, General Wajid Zia, as respondents.

Ritchie while talking to the media said, she wants this decision to be declared ‘null and void’. She added that these instructions violated her rights and were contrary to the country’s visa laws.

The MoI permitted Cynthia Ritchie to stay in the country until August 31. However, she applied for a visa extension. On September 2, the interior ministry rejected her application of visa extension. They also asked her to leave Pakistan within 15 days.

The MoI -under pressure best known to them- has for the first time, in my over 10+ years in Pakistan, rejected my Visa application. No reason has been given. We have a right to file an appeal & will do so. A higher forum must entertain my application & upon merits grant visa.

According to the Ministry of Interior,

Cynthia D. Ritchie denied all the allegations against her; she 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 and, therefore, she was still staying in Pakistan under a valid visa as extended by the Ministry of Interior

A Counter-Strike by PPP?

Ritchie has been living in Pakistan for the last decade. In June 2020, under the ‘MeToo’ movement, Ritchie made allegations of sexual misconduct against former PM Rehman Malik and Makhdoom Shahabuddin. The accusation has been denied by the PPP leaders.

Read also: Sanjay Dutt Finally Issued a US Visa

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