Court ruling on estranged lesbian couple’s dispute ‘has wider implications’


February 4, 2016

Source: Daily mail

Legal experts say a Supreme Court ruling on an estranged lesbian couple’s dispute over their seven-year-old daughter will have implications for children taken abroad during parental tug-of-love battles.

pakistan Child Abduction

Supreme Court justices heard that one woman was the youngster’s biological mother and sole legal parent and the second woman considered herself a de facto parent.

Their relationship broke down in 2011, more than three years after the girl was conceived by IVF treatment and born.

The girl had been taken to Pakistan by her biological mother in early 2014 and the second woman launched legal action – asking judges to order the youngster’s return to the UK.

A High Court judge and Court of Appeal judges concluded they did not have the jurisdiction to make such an order because the girl was not habitually resident in the UK when legal proceedings were launched.

But five Supreme Court justices have overturned those decisions by a three-two majority.

They ruled on Wednesday that the girl had been habitually resident in the UK and allowed an appeal by the second woman.

The case will now return to the High Court where a judge will make decisions on what happens next.

Supreme Court justices heard that a court in Pakistan would be unlikely to consider the case “because of the strength there of negative attitudes towards that sort of adult relationship”.

Lawyers raised fears that the little girl would be in a legal limbo with no judge able to decide what was in her best interests.

A lawyer representing the second woman said the Supreme Court had clarified the law relating to a child’s “habitual residence”.

Maria Wright, who works for Freemans Solicitors, added: “The consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision is that the English court can properly consider what is in (the child’s) best interests and, if appropriate, order contact or (the child’s) return to England.”

Other specialist lawyers echoed her views.

“The decision is significant for a number of reasons. Quite apart from being the first international abduction case involving the child of a same sex couple, the ruling will prevent children being in a legal limbo when they are taken abroad by one of the parents,” said Peter Morris, a family lawyer at law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

“This makes it unlikely that one parent can act unilaterally and bring about an immediate change to a child’s habitual residence and avoid proceedings by abducting them.

“At a time when the number of international relationships is increasing, the decision is to be welcomed.”

Joanna Farrands, a partner at law firm Barlow Robbins, added: “This is a fantastic outcome showing that the interests of the child must be the focus in international parental disputes.

“This outcome is a positive development for children who have lived in multiple countries. It shows that if an abducting parent unilaterally removes a child from the UK they will not immediately lose their residence in England and Wales. ”

She added: “Pakistan appears to consider homosexuality as ‘abnormal sexual behaviour’, therefore the only recourse for the remaining parent was through the jurisdiction of England and Wales.”

The second woman said she was “relieved”.

“It has been a very long process to get to this result, and I am delighted that someone will now be able to look at what is actually in (the child’s) best interests,” she added.

“I very much hope that (the child) and I will now be able to see each other again.”

Judges heard that the second woman was a British woman of Indian ethnicity – and the girl’s biological mother a British woman of Pakistani ethnicity.

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Gunmen abduct Pakistan ex-PM Gilani’s son at election rally


May 10, 2013

Source: virginislandsnewsonline.com

BBC World – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says his son has been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen during an election rally.

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Mr Gilani told the BBC his son Ali Haider – a candidate for the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) – was seized in the central city of Multan. He accused his political opponents of being behind the attack, which came ahead of Saturday’s elections. One person was reportedly killed when the attackers opened fire at the rally. No group has so far claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack.

Taliban threats 

Eyewitnesses say the gunmen arrived at the gathering in a black Honda car and a motorbike.”A couple of them started shooting,” a teenager at the rally told Pakistan’s Geo TV.

Musa-Gilani-Pakistan

Musa Gilani: “If we don’t get my brother by this evening, I will not let the election happen”

“A man standing in front of Gilani was hit and fell down. Then they grabbed Gilani, put him in the car and sped away.” Reports say the person who died in the shooting could have been Ali Haider Gilani’s bodyguard or secretary. Another five people were injured. Eyewitnesses say a bullet also hit Ali Haider and he was bleeding when the kidnappers put him in the car, Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reports.

Ali Haider – the youngest son of the ex-prime minister – is contesting a seat in the Punjab provincial assembly. “We want our brother back tonight. If we don’t get him, we will not allow elections to be held in our area,” his elder brother Ali Musa – who was in tears – later told reporters.

Police have now sealed off all entry and exit point in Multan, and a massive search operation is under way, local media report.

Yousuf Raza Gilani served as prime minister until June 2012, when he was forced out of office by the Supreme Court over his refusal to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari. But it is still a powerful political family, with Mr Gilani’s sons standing in the elections to the provincial and national assemblies, the BBC’s Mike Wooldridge in Islamabad says.

Sharif’s pledge

The run-up to the 11 May elections has been marred by a series of attacks across the country in which more than 100 people have been killed. The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to prevent the PPP, the Awami National Party (ANP) as well the MQM party, from conducting their election campaigns because they are considered by the militants to be too secular. The military has pledged to deploy tens of thousands of troops to polling stations on Saturday to prevent further attacks.

In a separate development, Nawaz Sharif – the man tipped to be Pakistan’s next prime minister – promised to end the country’s involvement in the US-led war on terror if elected. Mr Sharif – who leads the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) – told the BBC the move was necessary for there to be peace in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

Pakistan has been part of the US-led fight against Islamist militancy in the region since the 11 September attacks in the US in 2001. Mr Sharif’s remarks may cause concern among Western leaders, the BBC’s Orla Guerin reports from Islamabad. However, Mr Sharif – who served as prime minister twice in the 1990s – declined to say whether he would stop military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan – another leading Pakistani politician – is continuing to recover in hospital after falling off a makeshift lift at an election rally earlier this week. Doctors say that the former cricketer who leads the Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party – received stitches in the head and treatment for injuries to his spine.

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Is Pakistan considering implementing the Hague Convention on Child Abduction?


May 1, 2013

Source: youblawg

Reports have come out of Pakistan this last week that the country is now seriously contemplating implementing the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

Pakistani_Child

The reports mark extremely positive news for Child Abduction practitioners, and will receive enthusiastic support from the other countries (of whom there are more than 80) who have ratified the Convention.

At present, Pakistan ranks as one of the countries with the highest abduction rates to and from the UK. As Pakistan has never ratified the international agreement (Hague Convention) the best methods of securing a child’s return following abduction do not apply. There is currently a Protocol in place, which was originally implemented in 2003; however the Protocol has failed to bring about the same results seen in Convention cases. Attempts to secure the return of a Child following a Parental or family abduction therefore tend to be far more hit and miss than in many of the countries that have ratified the Convention.

With cases of child abduction increasing year on year, any move which strengthens international co-operation for the return of abducted children can only be seen as a positive step forward.

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Parental Abduction: Sharjah mother: I am living a nightmare


Source: Gulfnews.com

Forcibly separated from her two sons, Sharjah mother fights back for their custody from husband

Sharjah: On August 12, Arafath will turn four. But his mother won’t be around to hug him. Instead Irum Iqbal will be kneeling down in prayer – a routine she has zealously followed every evening since January 13, the day Arafath and his younger brother, Hasanath, whom she was still breastfeeding – were snatched by her estranged husband and flown to Hyderabad, India without her knowledge.

Irum, 27, is a Pakistani citizen, while her husband, Mir Zarafath Ali, is Indian.

Given the thorny relations between the two countries, the likelihood of Irum going to India and wresting custody of her children, both Indian passport holders, is as minuscule as the eye of a needle.

Yet Irum is hopeful of being reunited with them. “I have faith in Allah. I am sure my prayers won’t go unanswered in this holy month,” she said wiping away her tears.

Irum has also moved the Sharjah Sharia Court seeking a divorce and custody of her children. On August 8, the court summoned Ali. He didn’t show up. Instead, he sent Irum a Letter of Reconciliation laying down some bizarre terms and conditions for his return. Among them: Irum will give him whatever she has earned since he has been away; provide a break-up of her expenditure all this while; agree to hand him whatever she earns in future; not maintain any social networking account; visit her family only once a week and not leave home without her husband’s permission.

Irum will forego the right to take legal action against Ali if she signs the draft, says a clause in the Letter of Reconciliation, a copy of which is with XPRESS. Ali has drafted a similar letter for himself.

Irum and Ali got married in the UAE in November 2006, but their bliss didn’t last long. They had regular fights. Irum claims the fights became more frequent and intense when Ali lost his job and his family business in Sharjah suffered losses. “He started to live off my salary. When that wasn’t enough, he started selling my jewellery. One by one he sold off all the pieces. I didn’t mind that as I wanted to salvage our relationship. But when he sold the last piece, he threw me out of the house. Two days later, he flew away with my kids to India. I am living a nightmare. In the seven months that have rolled by since then, there has not been a single day when I have not wept thinking about Arafath and Hasanath. They are so small. I don’t know how they are managing without me. Hasanath is not even two years old. I was breastfeeding him when he was taken away,” said Irum who works with a telecom service provider and currently lives with her parents in Sharjah.

Irum said she was emboldened to talk about her plight after coming across an earlier XPRESS cover story (June 16, 2011) on Dubai-based Maimouna Liskauskaite whose children were snatched by her husband under similar circumstances.

“I can relate to Maimouna as I am going through the same hell. When I read about her, I rang her up. We talked about our kids and tried to console each other. It was a futile attempt because towards the end both of us were crying.”

Desperate to have her kids back Irum has now urged Indian authorities and NGOs to intervene. “This is not about India and Pakistan, this is about a mother and her children,” she said.

P.K. Askok Babu, Consul (media) at the Consulate General of India admitted the case is “complicated”.

“It was brought to our notice after Ali had left for India. Ali had approached the Consulate… he has been advised to take the legal route to resolve the dispute with his wife,” Babu said in an e-mail statement to XPRESS.

On his part, Ali denies any wrongdoing. He said he was ready to accept Irum provided she signs the Letter of Reconciliation and mends her ways. “I have seen her smoking and drinking and have photographs to prove that,” he said over the phone from India. He said he has mailed the offending pictures to the judge, but refused to send them to XPRESS. “I respect the privacy of my wife and do not want to malign her.”

Irum ridicules the queer reasoning. “If he can talk about my supposed smoking and drinking habits, why can’t he send the pictures as well?”

Parental child abduction on the rise

Parental child abduction is proving to be a growing concern in the UAE. Experts reckon this is largely because of the country’s large expat community. A parent or grandparent could face legal action if he/she abducts his/her own child or grandchild from the person who has legal guardianship or custody as established by a UAE judicial decision. But since the UAE is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, foreign governments cannot enforce their own laws here. Statistics on parental child abduction in the UAE are hard to come by, but information released by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), gives an indication of the magnitude of the problem.

According to FCO, the UAE is one of the top locations for abductions of British children by one of their estranged parents.

The US State Department also reported seven cases of child abduction (under US law) in 2009 in the UAE involving nine children, up from six cases in 2008 and four cases in 2007.

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