A seven-year-old girl, born through artificial insemination, will have to wait six more days before she knows who she will live with.
Her father, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, filed a petition for her custody with the court of additional district and sessions judge, challenging an earlier decision of a family court that gave the custody of the girl to her mother.
Farooq Siddiqi, the petitioner, said, “I [married] Farzana in 2004 under Islamic law and [we] opted for [artificial insemination] as we didn’t have children for many years.”
But the couple separated before Fatima was born in 2005. Siddiqi said the two had agreed that Fatima’s custody would go to him after she was born. But in February 2005, when she was only few days old, her mother got her custody by filing a habeas corpus petition, he said.
Siddiqi later approached the family court saying the child should be handed over to him as she was “born through artificial means and hence needed extra medical care”.
However, the court dismissed his petition saying the marriage was contracted under Shariah and Farzana was not a surrogate mother.
In his current appeal, Farooq has argued that Fatima is now over seven years old and her custody should be given to him. His argument is that that the girl was born a US national and deserves to go to America for better studies and future. In her response to the court, Farzana said the custody should remain with her as the girl had been doing well and attending one of the most prestigious schools of Rawalpindi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2012.