Hague Convention 1980

Post ratification scenario for Pakistan Part II

 

The government of Pakistan has to offer a pack of rules and guidelines to other member’s states under Central Authority/authorities. The main areas in compliance of Convention are appointment of specially trained police forces to facilitate locating the child local agencies linked to Central Authority/authorities in the federal and provincial territories

 

To operate, it is imperative that the Central Authority must have a modern secretariat, possess relative powers and resources to carry out the functions and duties obligated by the Convention under a compact legal frame work. The Central Authority/Authorities must significantly maintain a certain level of transparency and consistency in all its functions and procedural duties. The Central Authority/Authorities must be well equipped to handle all outgoing and incoming applications from member’s states. As routine measures the Authority/Authorities must obtain the details of abduction procedures in the requested Central Authority from their website, brochure or flyer, The Central Authority/Authorities’ administrative procedures for handling incoming applications should set time frames or timescales by which each stage of the process is to be completed… legislation sets times for various stages of the legal proceedings which also impact on the Central Authority.

The government of Pakistan has to offer a pack of rules and guidelines to other member’s states under Central Authority/authorities. The main areas in compliance of Convention are appointment of specially trained police forces to facilitate locating the child local agencies linked to Central Authority/authorities in the federal and provincial territories. The government has to notify the police force for Central Authority/authorities and certain amendments are required in the relevant laws and rules.

The Central Authority/authorities have to appoint liaison officers in all the provinces for smooth coordination. Central Authorities should maintain accurate Convention statistics and make annual returns of statistics to the Permanent Bureau. A statistical database called INCASTAT has been established as a complement to the International Child Abduction Database known as INCADAT. Reliable statistics should be collected and sent to these databases. Education of the general public and the legal and welfare professions about the Convention remains is a priority, In relation to the safe return order provisional protective measures need to be taken prior to the safe return order of the child. In immigration matters measures should be taken to ensure that the abducting parents are permitted to re-enter the requesting country to access the proceedings.

Pakistan Accession to Hague Convention is an important milestone and a great contribution in the global effort to protect children from harmful effects of wrongful removal or retention across international borders

The Central Authority/Authorities should implement practical forms of assistance for returning the abducted child back to his/her state of habitual residence. A “twinning” arrangement could arise if a developing Central Authority seeks assistance from an experienced Central Authority to provide advice, materials, training and possibly an exchange of personnel for practical training and experience. This twinning arrangement could be set up for Pakistan as a developing Central Authority as well. In order to effectively implement the 1980 Convention Pakistan shall have to wither enact new laws that take into account the obligations of the Convention, or amend existing laws to include convention obligations.

Presently in Pakistan the Guardian and Ward Act 1890 is a facilitating law which adjudicates the child abduction cases along with other relevant provisions of civil procedure code, criminal procedure code and few provisions of constitution of Pakistan. Temporally, Pakistan may add and indicate with section 25 of Guardian and Ward Act a footnote indicating that Pakistan is a signatory to The Hague Convention. Under The Hague Convention, Pakistan should go for comprehensive subordinate legislations like Australia added few Sections to its Family Law Act 1975 and the Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986.The United States has enacted the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA) mainly to establish procedures to implement the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Germany passed An Act to Implement Certain Legal Instruments in the Field of International Family Law (International Family Law Procedure Act – IFLPA)

Pakistan Accession to Hague Convention is an important milestone and a great contribution in the global effort to protect children from harmful effects of wrongful removal or retention across international borders. To serve the purpose of this important international family law treaty, Pakistan has to take some in house initiatives to build an infrastructure to meet the required standards of the Hague Secretariat and to facilitate the contracting states in return of abducted children. Central Authority/ Authorities should Arrangement training courses of family judges, members of the bar associations, police, FIA and other para-legal staff, NGO personnel and all stakeholders, in their respective judicial and training academies to understand the Hague Convention and its obligations

Central Authority/Authorities have to establish shelter homes, youth centers, visitation centers, in collaboration with provincial child protection bureaus. Arbitration centers with panel consisting of arbitrators, mediators for amicable solution of disputes for both children and their families. The world community looks forward to the implementation of the child abduction convention in Pakistan and to see Pakistan support the rights and well-being of children around the world.

 

The writer is an Advocate Supreme Court, Senior Associate ABS & CO, former Additional District and Session Judge and Founding President of Centre for Rule of Law Islamabad-CROLI and can be contacted at: [email protected]



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