A three-year-old Pakistani child that was taken away to the UAE by his father without the mother’s consent has to be presented in court within one week, the Islamabad High Court has ordered the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The father, who has been a long-time resident of Ras Al Khaimah, brought the child to the UAE from Pakistan in February, 2018, and never sent him back.
Haniya Usman, the mother of the child, claims she has not seen her son since then and has been in a year-long court battle as she is desperate to be reunited with him.
The father’s passport and national ID was blocked by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Authority after the court ordered it in one of the hearings.
Commenting on the recent order by the Islamabad High Court, Usman’s lawyer Pir Abdul Wahid told Khaleej Times: “Ministry of Interior and Foreign Affairs have apprised the court of progress so far, that they are constantly in touch with UAE authorities at Abu Dhabi and will submit report on next hearing. The court directed them to expedite the process and take steps according to law and try to bring the respondent along with the child by next date of hearing, which is next Friday (April 12).
“Ministry of Foreign Affairs can liaison with UAE foreign ministry and, with mutual assistance, UAE authorities can take steps to handover the respondent to Pakistani authorities. Then they will bring him to Pakistan.”
Usman claims she let her husband take their son to the UAE as he wanted him there for a 15-day holiday, however, he didn’t return him.
She also claims that her parents-in-law filed for custody for her daughter, who still lives with her in Pakistan, even though she never received any divorce papers from her husband.
“This is my son. I was all alone for nine months when I was pregnant with him, I was alone during the delivery, during breast-feeding, I have done everything alone. He’s not just my son, he’s my life,” she previously told Khaleej Times.
The UAE does have an extradition treaty with Pakistan, which includes cases of “child stealing, including abandoning, exposing or unlawfully detaining”, a Dubai lawyer has confirmed. The treaty falls under Federal Law No 39 of 2006, Article 3.
Waheed said the timely return of the child on the deadline given by the court now depends on the speed of cooperation between UAE and Pakistan authorities, as well as legal formalities.