New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday held Pakistani courts and high commission were the competent authority to decide the custody issue of a four-year-old Pakistani girl, who had lost her parents in an accident in Kashmir in June, as the case involves their nationals.
Disposing of the plea on the child`s custody, a division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice SP Garg suggested the child`s paternal aunt approach the Pakistani High Commission or ministry of home affairs for any other remedy in the issue.
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 about the accident, Pakistani lawyer Shazia Naz, who is Shabnam`s sister-in-law (from her first marriage), approached the high court, filing a habeas corpus plea for seeking the custody of her niece.
Meanwhile, the child`s maternal uncle and aunt had also appeared before the court seeking her custody.
The maternal aunt and uncle reached Delhi June 29 after hearing about the incident and applied for a visa extension as the child is not well.
Naz, in the plea, said that the mother and daughter had come to Delhi from Pakistan for business June 13. Shabnam`s husband had died in 2012, following which the two had been living with his family in Lahore, she 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.