Indo-Canadian woman appeals to Pak court for son`s custody

Roshni Desai was given the custody of the child by a Canadian court last year after she separated from her partner Jahanzeb Niazi.

Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 20:41 PM IST

Lahore: A Canadian woman of Indian
origin has approached a court here to seek the recovery of her
four-year-old son from his father, a Canadian of Pakistani-
origin, who is alleged to have illegally brought the boy to
this country.

Roshni Desai, who was given the custody of the child
by a Canadian court last year after she separated from her
partner Jahanzeb Niazi, has filed a habeas corpus petition
before the Lahore High court for the recovery of her son Azan
Sohail Niazi.

Desai alleged that Niazi, originally from Sialkot, but
now a Canadian national, had visitation rights to the son but
he took him away last month from Montreal and flew over to his
country of origin Pakistan.

Temporarily handing over the child to Desai, the
Lahore High Court directed the boy`s parents to settle the
issue of custody amicably, before adjourning the hearing, Dawn
newspaper reported today.

The judge Justice Munir directed the two parties to
reach some agreement by the next hearing which was fixed for
April 14.

Desai, through her counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa,
submitted in the court that the boy was born in 2007 in
Canada, out of her union with Niazi but the couple separated
in November last year after which she settled down in Montreal
with the child, with Niazi enjoying visitation rights.

According to her version, Niazi took Azan away on
March 7, and initially did not respond to her calls. After
many attempts she succeeded in finally establishing contact
with the respondent who promised that the minor son would be
handed over to her soon.

However, on March 9, Desai claimed, Canadian police
informed her that Niazi had flown away to Pakistan along with
Azan. She said since she had been told that her son had
travelled on a Pakistani passport, she contacted the Pakistani

Desai said she also filed a petition before a
Canadian court and obtained an order which directed the
respondent to hand over the child to her by March 15.

The same court also granted her legal custody of the
child. Further, she approached the Canadian police which
issued warrants for Niazi on charges of abduction.

She pleaded with the Lahore court that Niazi had no
right to custody of the minor according to the Canadian law
and Muslim family laws of Pakistan because there was no legal
marriage solemnised between them.

Desai said she and her son were both Canadian
nationals and Niazi had not obtained Pakistani citizenship for
Azan; therefore, legally, as a citizen of Canada the minor
could not live in Pakistan.

During the course of the hearing, the judge Justice
Munir observed that under Pakistani laws it was difficult to
determine the custody of the minor as his parents were not
legally married.

The judge said it was a very sensitive matter that
should be resolved amicably.

Justice Munir temporarily handed over the child to
Desai but directed her to surrender her passport, to be kept
in the court`s possession till the disposal of the case.