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HC notice to Pakistan mission on child's custody

Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 22 : The Delhi High Court Friday issued notice to the Pakistan High Commission, seeking its assistance on the custody issue of a four-year-old Pakistani girl, who had lost her parents in an accident near Srinagar in June.

A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice S.P. Garg asked the Pakistani mission to assist the court by providing details of the guardians of the child seeking her custody.

The court posted the matter for Aug 25.

The case relates to a incident where Lahore-based businesswoman Shabnam Barkat, her second husband Shabir Ahmed (who was from Kashmir) and her daughter (from first marriage) had met with an accident near Srinagar June 14.

The child's Pakistani biological father had died in 2012 and the next year, Shabnam married Ahmed.

In the accident in Srinagar, both the parents (mother and stepfather) died while she suffered serious injuries. She is currently staying with a relative of her stepfather.

Hearing the news of accident, a Pakistani lawyer and Shabnam's sister-in-law Shazia Naz approached the high court, filing habeas corpus plea for seeking the custody of her niece.

However, during Friday's hearing, the child's maternal uncle and aunt also appeared before the court seeking her custody.

The maternal aunt and uncle of kid reached Delhi June 29 after hearing about the incident and applied for a visa extension as the child is not well. The court asked Delhi Police to verify the passport of the maternal uncle.

Naz, the paternal aunt, in the plea said that the mother and daughter had come to Delhi from Pakistan for business on June 13. Shabnam's husband had died in 2012, following which the two had been living with his family in Lahore, Naz said in the plea. She also claimed that the family had no knowledge that Shabnam got married here in India.

According to the plea, on June 14, Shabnam's family in Lahore got a phone call from some unknown person in Delhi, who informed them that Shabnam and her daughter were involved in a serious road accident near Srinagar.

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