ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday issued notices to Secretaries of Cabinet Division and Interior and Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in a petition seeking court’s directions for the government to deport Cynthia Dawn Ritchie, a US national currently residing in Pakistan.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by an office-bearer of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Ch Iftikhar Ahmad against Cynthia Dawn Ritchie.

During the hearing, the petitioner asserted that Cynthia is a foreign national and is staying in Pakistan without a valid visa. He added that her visa had expired and yet respondents are not proceeding against her in accordance with law.

His counsel contended that she is not a registered voter and yet has been allowed and facilitated to interfere and comment on political matters. He argued that she is being facilitated to tarnish the image of the country by bringing political leadership into disrepute through false and concocted statements/allegations.

He also argued that activities of the US national are in violation of the terms and conditions of the visa which was earlier granted to her while the respondents are refusing to act in accordance with law. 

After hearing his arguments, the IHC bench directed to issue notices to respondents No.2, 3 and 4 for filing report and parawise comments before the next date fixed.

Justice Athar also ordered, “An authorised representative shall be nominated by the Secretary Ministry of Interior to appear before this Court on the date fixed and explain whether visa of respondent no.1 has expired. If so then what course is required to be adopted under the law.”

He added, “The authorised representative shall also explain whether the terms and conditions of visa issued to a foreign national allows the latter to make statements of political nature as alleged on behalf of the petitioner in case of respondent no.1.”

After issuing aforementioned directions, the court adjourned hearing in this matter till July 3 for further proceedings.

In his petition, he cited Cynthia, Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Interior, Director General (DG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Chairman Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan as respondents.

Iftikhar, who is secretary general of PPP Rawalpindi city, moved the court through his counsels Ch Furrukh Isamil and Ch Tanveer Akhtar saying that as per his knowledge, the visa of Cynthia has expired in the month of March owing to which her stay in Pakistan became illegal.

He added that she should have left the country or should have been deported by the respondents but they have failed to perform their duties which they were obliged to perform under the law which necessitated to file the petition.

The petitioner also adopted that the US national is claiming through media that she is indulging into certain kinds of investigations in Pakistan but according to the knowledge and information of the petitioner no such license has been issued to her by the government of Pakistan to carry out any kind of investigations.

He claimed that Cynthia “who is an alien has been able to make an access to the sensitive institutions of the country. It is known that she is involved in anti-state activities and her such acts of omissions and commissions may prove detrimental and fatal to the country.”

He maintained that if she is carrying on with any business then she should have been registered with SECP and if not then how she is doing the business in Pakistan. “She has also not disclosed her source of income and the details of income tax, if any paid by her. All these things/ information are necessary to be disclosed in the public interest,” added the petitioner.

He continued that she is also levelling defamatory allegations against a deceased leader and former prime minister of the country and thus scandalising the reputation of country at international level, the process of investigation is already pending before the FIA, hence her activity may be restrained as per law.

Therefore, he prayed to the court to direct the respondents to deport the US national as her visa has been expired and not extended till date. He also requested the court that the activity of Cynthia may be restrained within the limit prescribed by law for immigrants.