PESHAWAR – The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan has launched a public awareness campaign about the Protocol on Child and Family laws between judiciaries of the UK and Pakistan and has requested the four high courts to circulate the protocol among its judges and subordinate courts.
The commission published a special pamphlet in Urdu and sent copies of the said pamphlets to the high courts for onward distribution among the judges and subordinate courts.
Last year the Supreme Court had directed the high courts and subordinate judiciary to follow the protocol signed between the judiciaries of Pakistan and UK for protecting the children of both the countries from wrongful removal or retention from one country to another.
Members of the judiciary of both the countries had met between Jan 15 and Jan 17, 2003, in the Royal Courts of Justice in London and had reached a conclusion in connection with illegal trafficking of minor children from one country to another.
An agreement was signed at the conclusion of UK-Pakistan Second Judicial Conference held at Islamabad on Sept 22-23, 2003. The conference had also recommended proper publicity of the document for creating greater public awareness.
According to the protocol, both the signatories had agreed that in normal circumstances, the welfare of a child was best determined by the courts of the country of the child’s habitual/ordinary residence.
Under the protocol the court of the country to which a child was removed from the other country would not exercise jurisdiction over the child except if it was necessary for the court to order the return of the child to the country of his ordinary residence.
The protocol states: “If a child is removed from the UK to Pakistan, or from Pakistan to the UK, without the consent of the parent with a custody/residence order or a restraint/interdict order from the court of the child’s habitual/ordinary residence, the judge of the court of the country to which the child has been removed shall not ordinarily exercise jurisdiction over the child, save in so far as it is necessary for the court to order the return of the child to the country of the child’s habitual/ordinary residence.”