A Pakistani mother’s two-year search for her missing sons came to an end as she was reunited with her twins in New Jersey and will now be flying home to London.
According to a report published in The Courier Post, US District Judge ordered federal marshals to provide security to the mother and her 8-year-old sons when they depart from Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday.
It all started in 2007 when the mother, Uzma Shafqat, refused to surrender one of her sons to a sister of the boys’ father. Soon after her refusal, Uzma became the target of an ongoing campaign of physical and mental abuse, the report said. The ordeal continued even after the family moved to London in 2011 where the children’s father worked for the Pakistani government.
The boys’ father, Shafqat Mahmood Malik, allegedly abducted the twins in London and took them to Pakistan when their mother was hospitalised in October 2013 after giving birth to a premature baby girl.
They were found in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, last month living with their father and some relatives.
Uzma’s counsel Stephen Cullen said the father was preparing to take the twins to Pakistan where they would be out of the reach of international law in child-abduction cases.
Authorities got a break through last year when a Pakistani tipster notified that the father had taken the boys to Albany, New York.
“We rushed up there, but somehow they found out we were on to them,” Cullen said.
US marshals then traced the boys to Gloucester Township, where federal agents removed them from Blackwood Elementary School.
While not opposing the court’s order, Shafqat maintained that he reserves the right “to assert my defenses to the underlying custodial proceedings in the United Kingdom.”
On the other hand, Cullen said a British court has already awarded custody of the boys to the mother but Shafaqat could seek visitation rights.
“Uzma never gave up hope and continued the fight to be reunited with her sons, sometimes against what seems insurmountable odds,” said Anne Marie Hutchinson, an attorney for a British non-profit that helped reunify the family.
The article originally appeared on Yahoo News.