In a historic decision, the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday ordered that the case against a citizen who had expressed his viewpoint on social media under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) be dismissed. 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 taking away someone’s right to free expression is like taking a goat or a sheep to the 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 superstore, 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 stated in its ruling that the freedom of speech dates back to the ancient Greek civilisation and is now universally acknowledged as a fundamental human right. “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.