IHC directs interior ministry to decide Cynthia’s visa application expeditiously as per law

ISLAMABAD – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has disposed of US citizen Cynthia D Ritchie application and directed the interior ministry to decide her visa application expeditiously and as per law.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of Ritchie’s petition filed against refusal of interior ministry to extend her visa and disposed of the same after issuing aforementioned directions.

Ritchie filed the petition before the IHC following the interior ministry rejected her visa application and ordered her deportation. The bench initially stayed interior ministry’s decision to deport US blogger.  In her plea, the US citizen said that her request for a visa extension had been rejected despite providing all the relevant documents and the interior ministry did not state the reasons for doing so either.

In her petition with the IHC, Ritchie adopted the stance that her visa had expired and she had applied for a work visa with all the necessary documents. “[But] due to the pandemic, her application could not be processed and the visas of all foreigners were extended by a general order, and the same premium was also afforded to the petitioner,” said the petitioner.

Ritchie said she had moved another application for a work visa due to a change of sponsor which was also not decided due to Covid-19, and was later “shocked” to receive a letter from the interior ministry stating that her visa application had been rejected.

US citizen Cynthia D Ritchie had filed a petition following the ministry rejecting her visa application and ordering deportation

She further said that the interior ministry had earlier submitted its comments, during the hearing of a petition filed by an activist of the PPP, that Ritchie was not involved in “anti-state and illegal activity” in Pakistan.

“Further, while filing the visa application all the requirements of a work visa were complied with. Despite that, the visa application was rejected without affording any reasoning,” she said in her petition.

During the hearing, the interior ministry informed the court that Ritchie was given an opportunity of hearing and the ministry would decide her application in due course.

Justice Aamer said that the reply of the ministry was satisfactory, however, the judge directed the interior secretary to decide the matter expeditiously and as per law and disposed of the matter.

 

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