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=> KARACHI, Dec 18: The Sindh High Court has directed

KARACHI, Dec 18: The Sindh High Court has directed the federal Interior Ministry to “do the needful” and ensure that a minor, Abbas Nurie, attends the court during the hearing of the petition regarding his custody.

The order was passed by Justice Muneeb Ahmad Khan in a child custody battle between the boy’s divorced parents, Fiza Rizvi and Ghulam Mohammed Nurie. The next hearing is to be held on Jan 14, 2008.

At the last hearing on Dec 10, the court further ordered that warrants be issued through international agencies for the arrest of Mr Nurie, who has violated earlier court orders by taking the child out of the country. The court also issued notices to the director of FIA Immigration to investigate and inform the court as to how, and on what date, Abbas and his father left the country given that on Oct 29, the court had ordered that both their names be placed on the exit control list (ECL).

According to the child’s mother, Ms Rizvi (who remains in the country), she married Mr Nurie in 2001. In Feb 2003, he sent his wife and son back to Pakistan from the US, where they had been living. She told Dawn that during their absence, Mr Nurie obtained a child custody order in his own favour from a Californian court in Oct 2003. The divorce came through in June 2004.

Ms Rizvi said that on the basis of the US court order, her former husband moved the Sindh High Court for the custody of Abbas, but his application was dismissed and the mother continued to enjoy the custody of her son.

However, continued Ms Rizvi, in Oct 2005 he attacked her home and tried to kidnap Abbas but failed. An FIR was registered in this regard and Mr Nurie was arrested and later released on bail. He approached the Sindh High Court again and was granted two-hour visitation rights each Friday.

‘Child taken abroad’

Ms Rizvi told Dawn that during one such visit on Oct 26 this year, he took the child away by force. Subsequently, the child’s mother filed an FIR and a contempt of court application was also filed. Ms Rizvi told the court of her fear that the child may be taken out of the country, and upon her request, the court ordered that the names of both Mr Nurie and the child Abbas be placed on the ECL.

While both the father and son have remained untraceable since Oct 26, Ms Rizvi said that a few days ago, she learnt that her former husband had returned to the US and that she had spoken to him at a California telephone number. “He did not allow me to speak to my son,” she said with tears in her eyes.

Ms Rizvi said that although her son was a US national, she was at a loss to understand how he had been taken outside Pakistan since his passport was still in her possession. She added that the FIA had told her that Abbas and Mr Nurie had not left the country. “With all the sophisticated computerised system installed at entry and exit points, how did he [Mr Nurie] manage to sneak out of the country, especially when his and Abbas’ names were on the ECL?” she asked. “There must either have been some fault in the system or the officials manning the system allowed them to leave the country despite the court order.”

Ms Rizvi reiterated that the child’s custody should be restored to her.
Source: Dawn