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Pakistan 96th state to join 1980 Hague Convention on international child abduction

The news that Pakistan has joined the Hague Convention 1980 will be welcomed by parents and legal practitioners. As from 1 February 2017, Pakistan will be a contracting state to the 1980 Hague Convention.

This international treaty sets out legal procedures for the prompt return of children who are wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence. The 1980 Hague Convention aims to protect children from the harmful effects of child abduction.

In 2003, Pakistan and the UK signed the UK Pakistan Protocol on Children matters. This is a judicial understanding with the aims of returning an abducted child to the country they normally live. However, Pakistan Judges were not bound by it.

Now that Pakistan has joined the 1980 Hague Convention, a child abducted from the UK to Pakistan could be speedily returned to the UK. This is of particular importance given that the UK has the second largest community of overseas Pakistanis in the world after Saudi Arabia. This is currently placed at over 1 million Pakistanis in the UK.

The Hague Convention 1980 will enter into force in Pakistan on 1 March 2017.

If you suspect your child has been abducted, or you have been served with court documents in relation to an international child abduction matter, it is important that you take urgent specialist legal advice.