LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed on Friday appointed Advocates Asma Jahangir and Shahzad Shaukat as amicus curie to assist the court on a petition seeking reforms in Guardian and Ward Act.
The CJ also sought a report from District and Sessions Judge Mujahid Mustaqeem Ahmed by March 8, the next date for hearing.
The petition was filed by Tariq Nawaz, chairperson of My Foundation, an organisation set up by non custodial parents. The petitioner, who had been pleading his case in person, said that non custodial parents were allowed to meet their children only once or twice a month for no more than two hours and mostly on court premises.
He said the ‘harsh visiting timetable’ was leading to deteriorating the bonds between the parents and the children.
He said frequently parent who had been granted custody of a child used the flawed system to effect a “judicial abduction” of the child.
The petitioner said that the litigation, particularly that under the Guardians Act was a nightmare. Fighting child custody litigation, he said, was a cumbersome, slow and nerve wrecking procedure that on average took five to seven years.
He said that most of the procedures and precedence adopted by guardian courts favoured the custodian parent. He said these procedures were often manipulated and used by the custodian party to make it extremely difficult for the non-custodial parent to meet the child.
The petitioner said that the guardian courts were very stringent when it came to the visitation rights of a non-custodial parent.
He requested the court to protect the rights of children from broken families by making visitation schedules more reasonable.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th, 2012.