Islamabad: A Pakistani court here has directed the country's top investigation agency to register a case against Pakistan-based American blogger Cynthia D Ritchie for maligning late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on social media, a media report said on Monday.
The direction by the Islamabad's District and Session Court to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) came after the city police last week refused to register a case against Ritchie, saying that it was a case of cybercrime and only the FIA was authorised to deal with it, Geo News reported.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Jahangir Awan has directed the FIA to register a case against the US blogger Ritchie, the report said. Petitioner Waqas Ahmad Abbasi submitted a written application last week against Ritchie, accusing her of maligning former premier Benazir on social media. But the Islamabad Police said the case needed to be investigated by the FIA.
Later, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Islamabad President Shakeel Abbasi approached the FIA with a complaint against Ritchie for making a slanderous tweet against Bhutto but it refused to take action.
The FIA on June 9 told the Islamabad sessions court to dismiss a plea against Ritchie as the petitioner, Shakeel Abbasi, was not an affected party. Ritchie alleged that Benazir condoned rape culture in Pakistan, according to Pakistani media reports.
The FIA, in its written response to the court, argued that according to its rules, only the aggrieved party - the targeted victim or their guardian - could lodge such a complaint with the agency.
On the other hand, the counsel for the petitioner argued that due to the nature of tweets, the PPP was the aggrieved party, the report said. To this, the court asked why the heirs of late Benazir Bhutto were not lodging a complaint.
Ritchi has also levelled allegations of harassment against the senior leaders of the PPP, including the former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and ex-interior minister Rehman Malik.
On June 10, Gilani sent a legal notice to Ritchie, seeking Rs100 million in damages and an apology. Separately, Malik also said he will serve Ritchie a legal notice after she accused that he raped her in 2011.