Britain, Pakistan agree to sign deal on child abduction
LONDON: Britain and Pakistan have agreed in principle to ink a Judicial Protocol on abduction of children, draft of which will be finalized at the concluding session of UK-Pak Judicial Conference here on Friday.
“Yes, we have agreed to sign and the draft of the Protocol would be finalized tomorrow,” Chief Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad said late on Thursday.
A 3-day UK-Pak Judicial Conference on child and family law, organized by Royal Courts of Justice, will conclude here on Friday.
A seven member delegation comprising senior judges of Pakistan’s judiciary is being led by chief justice of Pakistan at the conference.
Justice Riaz said during their deliberations on Thursday judges from both the countries worked to “arrive at a consensus and consensus has been arrived at. Therefore today the Protocol has been drafted and tomorrow it would be finalized and signed”.
He said the problem was the “welfare of the children, protection to the abducted children and also the custody of the children.”
Under this Protocol, Justice Sheikh Riaz said, the abducted children either from Pakistan or from Britain, “whichever the country may be, the courts in Pakistan will have the jurisdiction, first to determine the habitual or ordinary residence of the child.”
“If it is proved that his residence was in Britain, he will be sent to Britain and if it is proved that his ordinary residence was in Pakistan then he will be retained in Pakistan,” said Justice Sheikh Riaz.
Questioned what subject dominated the discussion at the judicial conference on Thursday, Justice Sheikh Riaz said, “The main focus was the welfare of the children and how to protect them? This was the theme of the conference, the core of the issue is about the custody and problems of the abducted children and also forced marriages.”
Forced marriage, he said, was a problem both in Britain and in Pakistan by families of Pakistani origin. —APP