LHC releases ‘historic’ verdict on freedom of speech
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In a landmark judgement, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered disposing of the case registered against a citizen under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) for expressing his opinion on social media, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The 16-page decision, penned down by Justice Tariq Salim Sheikh, which is being termed a judicial precedent, begins with the quotation of the late US president George Washington who had said that snatching from somebody the freedom of speech was like taking a goat or a sheep to a butcher. “If citizens are deprived of this freedom, then we will be as deaf and dumb like goats and sheep,” reads the quotation.
Usman Zulfiqar, a citizen, had challenged the registration of a case against him under the PECA on the complaint by a popular super store, which had felt offended by the uploading of a video by him in which it was shown that haram food items were being sold at the store.
The court further said in its verdict that the right to express opinion dated back to the ancient Greek civilization, and now it had been recognized as a basic human right internationally. “However, it is laid down in the constitution that the citizens’ right to speech will depend upon laws of the land and moral values,” read the verdict.
Reporter: Malik Ashraf