Sixth-Grader Sues Pakistani President For ‘Stealing’ His Speech

The office of President Mamnoon Hussain was sued by an 11-year-old Pakistani boy for ‘stealing’ his speech.

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An 11-year-old boy has sued the office of Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain for ‘stealing’ a speech that he had prepared to deliver at an event celebrating the birth anniversary of Pakistan's founder, MA Jinnah.

The sixth grader, Muhammad Sabeel Haider, through his father Naseem Abbas Nasir, approached the Islamabad High Court, filing a petition against the presidency for “stealing” the text of his speech and giving it to someone else without his consent.

Haider, who studies in the Islamabad Model College for Boys, said in the petition that he participated in a programme arranged by the presidency and delivered a speech on 23 March this year and later, the president had given him a letter of appreciation.

He said that a ceremony related to Jinnah’s 141th birth anniversary was scheduled under the title “Quaid-e-Azam aur Bachay” and that the respondents had requested that he, on 14 December, deliver a speech in the ceremony on the topic “Pakistan ka Mustaqbil”, which had to be recorded on 22 December 2016.

He said he participated in daily rehearsals from 14 December onwards and sacrificed two papers (English and General Science) on 15 and 19 December, respectively, which were part of the annual December test examination.The counsel said Haider's speech was forwarded for approval from the presidency, adding that the respondents had approved it.

When the petitioner on 22 December reached Aiwan-e-Sadr (Presidency Palace), officials of the presidency sent him for make-up and the young orator sat on his reserved seat and waited for his turn.

“Shockingly,” Haider was informed that the speech was going to be delivered by a girl from another school, and “more astonishingly”, the speech which she delivered “was the original script of the speech of the petitioner”, the counsel said.

“The petitioner was highly discouraged [...] and insulted by the respondents” because his original script was delivered by someone else, and that too without permission, consent or will of the petitioner, the counsel said.

Calling it “stealing”, the counsel termed the act of the respondents a violation of intellectual property, intellect, and copyrights and sought that they be restrained from airing the speech on electronic or social media.

Justice Aamer Farooq on Friday reserved the verdict on the maintainability of the young orator's petition, The Express Tribune reported.

Haider has made the secretary to the President, additional secretary at the President's Secretariat, director colleges of the Directorate of Education, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, the managing director of the Pakistan Television, and one Ayesha Ishtiaq, through the principal of Islamabad College for Girls, as respondents in the case.

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