Baji Cynthia Ritchie Appears on Stage with U.S. designated Global Terrorist

Cynthia D. Ritchie is one of a handful of ‘Gora Pakistanis’ –Caucasian Europeans and Americans who have joined the effort to improve Pakistan’s image, presumably for some consideration. None of the ‘Gora Pakistanis’ are particularly well known in their own countries. In fact they are non-entities. But they are a regular feature on Pakistani media and social media, selling the ISPR-PTI narrative that Pakistan’s beautiful landscape and the hospitality and kindness of its people should somehow give it a pass over terrorism, nuclear irresponsibility, money laundering, lack of democracy and human rights, and other issues over which Pakistan is criticized by the rest of the world.

‘Baji Cynthia,’ as she is affectionately known by her followers, has often attacked Pakistani human rights activists and liberals. Therefore, it is not surprising that last weekend, Cynthia Ritchie ended up on stage with a Pakistan military propagandist who has been put on a Specially Designated Global Terrorist list by the government of the United States –the country whose citizenship Ritchie leverages to gain importance in Pakistan.

One year ago, the United States designated Tabish Qayyum a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism for his affiliation with Jamaat-ud-Dawa/Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Tabish has a long association with Jihadi psychological operations and attended Pakistan’s National Defense University (NDU), where several such Jihadis have been educated in recent years. He was also named the Information Secretary for Hafiz Saeed’s political party, Milli Muslim League, when the Pakistani establishment tried to ‘mainstream’ terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as a political party.

Cynthia Ritchie shared a stage with Tabish Qayyum at a “Social Media Conclave” hosted by an outfit called “Volunteer Force Pakistan,” who describes their mission as, “An Initiative to protect ideological boundaries of Pakistan & to counter anti Pakistan Agenda. We believe in a single statement: سب سے پہلے پاکستان” 

Given Cynthia D. Ritchie’s general ignorance about history as well as politics of Pakistan, it would not be surprising if she did not know that she was on stage with a designated terrorist facilitator.

She describes herself as ‘World Traveler. Communications Consultant. Producer.’ Ritchie has yet to complete her Master’s in Strategic Communications from George Washington University and, except a strong social media presence and occasional articles in Pakistani media, she has no serious track record as a Communications Consultant.

There used to be a website www.cynthiaritchie.com, which had her biography but it has been disabled since New-Pakistan raised questions about her qualifications. That defunct website said she had made “ TV commercials for AT&T, Political Campaigns, HGTV” but did not explain what political campaigns she worked on or what she did on HGTV—”an American basic cable and satellite television channel,” which primarily broadcasts reality programming related to home improvement and real estate.”

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which has recently been humiliated over its fake Facebook accounts, needs to explain its embrace of Cynthia D. Ritchie. And Cynthia D. Ritchie must explain why she ended up on the same stage as a person whom the United States considers a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Goebbels had Lord Haw Haw, Asif Ghafoor Could Only Find Cynthia Ritchie!

For some time now, an American non-entity has been applauded by Pakistan’s hyper-nationalists as the ideal foreign observer and commentator on Pakistan’s affairs. Cynthia D. Ritchie describes herself as ‘World Traveler. Communications Consultant. Producer.’ On her website. But her biodata is, to put it mildly, skimp. She has yet to complete her Master’s in Strategic Communications from George Washington University and, except a strong social media presence and occasional articles in Pakistani media, she has no serious track record as a Communications Consultant.

Cynthia Rithchie

Cynthia Ritchie is an entirely Pakistani phenomenon. She claims that “I Attempt To Brush Off The Dust Of Propaganda in Search of Objective Human Interest Stories in Various Cultures” and often argues that she wants the world to see the good side of Pakistan. But her knowledge of Pakistan’s history and politics is poor and her approach to showing the good side of Pakistan is to praise its people and its landscape. Of course, it is quite another thing that the international criticism of Pakistan is based on its policies, not its landscape or people.

Recently ‘Cynthia Baji’ (as some on social media describe her) had a meltdown on twitter, abusing several prominent Pakistani liberals and defending Pakistan’s policies against Ahmadi Muslims (which have been criticized repeatedly by the United Nations.) Her critics suggested that she might be on the payroll of Pakistan’s deep state or ISPR. Her knee-jerk defense of Pakistan’s military and the puppet Imran Khan regime is definitely suspicious even if there is no evidence so far of Cynthia Ritchie being sponsored by the deep state.

Asif Ghafoor

If Cynthia Ritchie is being sponsored to ‘improve Pakistan’s image,’ the question arises, whether she is even doing what she is supported/paid/sponsored to do? Her propaganda is all directed at Pakistanis. Non-Pakistanis do not take her seriously. She in neither published in the international media nor is her name or voice recognized outside the circle of hyper-nationalist Pakistanis who might want to get their ‘positive views’ reinforced by a Caucasian woman (‘Gori’.) 

According to her website, Cynthia’s only significant work outside Pakistan was “ TV commercials for AT&T, Political Campaigns, HGTV.” What political campaigns did she work on? What did she do on HGTV—”an American basic cable and satellite television channel,” which primarily broadcasts reality programming related to home improvement and real estate.” How does any of that qualify her to become the principal foreign defender of Pakistan’s policies and chequered history?

It is not unusual for governments, deep state machines, or political parties to prop up foreigners as propaganda tools. The Nazis, through their Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, hosted a number of English speakers who broadcast glowing accounts of German accomplishments abroad. The most famous of these was Lord Haw-Haw ,  the nickname applied to the Irish-American William Joyce, who broadcast Nazi propaganda to Britain from Germany during the Second World War.

circa 1942: William Joyce, known as Lord Haw Haw, who broadcast Nazi propaganda in English from Germany. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

But these broadcasts, which opened with “Germany calling, Germany calling,” were directed outwards, not at the German people. Their purpose was “to discourage and demoralise American, Australian, British, and Canadian troops, and the British population, to suppress the effectiveness of the Allied war effort through propaganda, and to motivate the Allies to agree to peace terms leaving the Nazi regime intact and in power.”

It is a pity that Goebbels, the Nazi German Propaganda Minister, managed to get the services of Lord Haw-Haw but our media czars could only find Cynthia D. Ritchie. If Pakistan’s image is to be improved abroad, our version of Lord Haw-Haw needs to be heard and believed outside Pakistan.

If our propaganda is turned only on our own people, we will only attract con-men and con-women who might look cute denigrating our liberals on social media but who serve no function beyond our own boundaries and diaspora. The rest of the world will still believe what real news sources and credible scholars and public figures tell them while Cynthia baji remains a non-entity outside Pakistan.