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Sixth-grader sues Pak presidency for stealing speech

December 24, 2016 14:39 IST

An 11-year-old boy has sued the office of President Mamnoon Hussain for stealing his speech which he had prepared to deliver on an event to celebrate the birth anniversary of Pakistan's founder M A 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.

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.

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 March 23 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 him on December 14 to deliver a speech in the ceremony on the topic "Pakistan ka Mustaqbil" which had to be recorded on December 22.

He said he participated in daily rehearsals from December 14 onwards and sacrificed two papers (English and General Science) on December 15 and December 19, respectively, which were part of 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 December 22 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.

Image: Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

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