ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior has informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie is living in Pakistan on an ‘extended’ visa and she is working on film projects in collaboration with the military’s media affairs wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
The Ministry in its report submitted to the IHC on Friday stated that Ms Ritchie “informed in her application that she had been working with Walkabout Films in collaboration with ISPR and the KPK Government on various film projects in the country. She further stated that she was waiting for complete documents for the formal extension of her business visa for one year which may take a few more days therefore she requested for a temporary extension of 30 days in her visa.”
“She also attached a letter no. 01/IAAD/2018 dated 27.12.2018 from ISPR stating that Walkabout Films Private Limited is undertaking various projects in collaboration with ISPR and she is working with Walkabout Films on some projects,” the report said.
The court adjourned the hearing till next week for final arguments on the petition of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) activist Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed, who had challenged her long stay in Pakistan after the expiry of her business visa in March and alleged involvement in a media campaign against leaders of the opposition party.
According to the petition, her business visa expired on March 2, 2020 and she was not entitled to stay in Pakistan afterwards. The business via had been granted on March 18, 2019 without fulfilling the legal formalities, the petitioner alleged, adding that she also misstated information in her visa extension application submitted to the Ministry of Interior after the expiry of her business visa in March.