Legal experts and community leaders at a seminar have underlined the need for incorporation of the 2003-UK-Pakistan protocol on children matters into British or Pakistani law to prevent cases of parental child abduction.
Friday’s seminar was second in a five day long event aimed at providing a forum for legal and civil society organisations to promote the 1980 Hague Convention on civil aspects of international child abduction. The remaining four seminars will be held in Islamabad, Lahore, Multan and Karachi.
Speakers at Friday’s seminar included Head of Assistance Unit at the British High Commission Albert David, former district & sessions judge Majid Bashir, executive director NGO Struggle for Change and others.
They called for collective efforts by all segments of the civil society to discourage incidents of domestic tension leading to the separation of couples and abduction of children.
David said that since 80 per cent of the UK-based Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates belong to Azad Kashmir, the campaign primarily focuses on the area to discourage the occurrence of parental child abduction cases caused due to domestic tension.
“We have raised the protocol with the Pakistani government and the possibility of it being incorporated into legislation. This has been done at both working and ministerial levels and we will continue to raise it at every suitable opportunity. However, due to a lack of political will it seems unlikely for the protocol to be incorporated into law any time soon”.
The speakers appreciated the role of the judiciary in AJK for discouraging child abduction incidents by separated parents.
Particular emphasis was also put on the need for adoption and ratification of the Hague Convention by Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th, 2012.