Update: Pakistan Internet Freedom Case goes to a larger bench at Lahore High Court

Islamabad, October 21, 2013: After 14 hearings, a lot of deliberations, several inputs from experts within the country and abroad, the Honorable Justice Mr. Mansoor Ali Shah on September 19, 2013 has marked the Internet Freedom Case, also known as YouTube Case, to the Honorable Chief Justice, Mr. Umar Ata Bandial to be fixed before larger bench. This means that a full bench of either three or five judges at the Lahore High Court will now further deliberate this case.

While we would have liked to see an early resolution of the case and at least quick unbanning of Youtube in the country, we are not too disappointed by this turn of events. Full bench are rare cases in the High Court and usually carry greater weight in terms of judgment. This development also shows what is at stake for the civil liberties in the country.

In coming months as this case is heard by the judges at Lahore High Court, we will endeavor to drive home the point that ours is a pure constitutional case, which relates to Article 19 (Freedom of Expression), Article 19-A (Right to access information) and Article 14 (Right to privacy).

Today, we are submitting an application to the Lahore High Court for early hearing of Internet Freedom Case. We are also initiating a contempt of court case against the Government for not reproting back to the court on our FinFisher petition

Having learnt from the process so far, we will make every effort to ensure that our litigation remains on track on purely constitutional grounds and a landmark judgment is issued guaranteeing Internet freedoms and ensuring that associated rights are protected in the country.

Express Tribune has reported some of the quotes from the honorable judge during the proceedings of Internet Freedom case at the Lahore High court accessible at this link.

For the people of Pakistan, Internet users in the country, marginalized segments in the society and for the sake of global Internet Freedom movement, we stand guard to put in our best efforts to continue to stand for the cause of civil liberties in Pakistan.

After all, we are a democracy and it’s only us, the people, who will strengthen it for the generations to come.