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The State v. Saqlain Haider

Closed Contracts Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Electronic / Internet-based Communication
  • Date of Decision
    November 21, 2015
  • Outcome
    Criminal Sanctions, Monetary Damages / Fines
  • Region & Country
    Pakistan, Asia and Asia Pacific
  • Judicial Body
    Specialized Court/Tribunal
  • Type of Law
    Criminal Law
  • Themes
    National Security
  • Tags
    Facebook, Social Media, Censorship

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

Saqlain Haider was arrested for posting hateful messages against the companions of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. He was charged with inciting sectarian hatred and dissemination of inciting material under the the Anti-Terrorism Act sections 9-A and 11-W.  On November 21, 2015, he was convicted of violating the Anti-Terrorism Act and received a 13 year sentence and a fine of a PRs. 250,000 (roughly $2,400).

Global FoE could not identify official legal and government records on the case and information on the case was derived from secondary sources. Global FoE notes that media outlets may not provide complete information about this case. Additional information regarding legal matters will be updated as an official source becomes available.


Facts

Saqlain Haider, a Shia, was arrested on October 27, 2015, after local residents complained that he posted hateful messages against the companions of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The charges against him were brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act, sections 9-A and 11-W.

Section 9 penalizes intentional incitement of sectarian hatred or committing acts that are likely to cause hatred. Section 11-W penalizes the printing, publishing, or dissemination of any material that incites religious, sectarian, or ethnic hatred.

Haider was released on bail on October 28 but on November 21, the Anti-Terrorism Court convicted him and passed a 13 year imprisonment sentence onto him as well as a PRs. 250,000 (roughly $2,400) fine. If the fine is not paid, he will face additional five months in prison.


Decision Overview

Haider confessed to the crimes. The prosecution also brought in witnesses in support of the case against Haider. On the basis of the testimonies and the confession, the Anti-Terrorism Court convicted Saqlain and sentenced him to 13 years in jail.


Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Contracts Expression

Bytes for All, a Pakistani human rights organization, commented that although courts have convicted persons of blasphemy for online comments, this was the first ever conviction of a person for posting sectarian materials over Facebook.

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Pak., Anti-Terrorism Act, PLD1997 Fed St 225., 1997

    Section 9 penalizes intentional incitement of sectarian hatred or committing acts that are likely to cause hatred.

    Section 11-W states penalizes printing, publishing or dissemination of any material that incites religious, sectarian or ethnic hatred.

Case Significance

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Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

This case did not set a binding or persuasive precedent either within or outside its jurisdiction. The significance of this case is undetermined at this point in time.

The decision was cited in:

Official Case Documents

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