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Pakistan: Father Given Custody of Daughter Because Mother Is a Christian

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The father of runaway Molly Campbell was granted interim custody of the 12-year-old in Pakistan because her mother had re-converted to Christianity.

Sajad Ahmed Rana won the ruling after telling a court that Louise Campbell was not giving Molly an Islamic home and was living with a man she had not married – a crime under Pakistani law.

Molly, who triggered an international police investigation after she disappeared from her school in the Outer Hebrides nine days ago, was at the Session Court of the Civil Judge in Lahore to hear the verdict.

The court issued an order through the British High Commission in Islamabad that Mrs Campbell must personally appear in Lahore on Wednesday to defend herself, until which time Molly stays in her father’s custody.

There is now likely to be a protracted legal case involving lawyers in Scotland and Pakistan . In Scotland , Mr Rana, a wealthy clothing manufacturer who initially had custody of all the couple’s four children after their divorce in 2001, could face prosecution for child abduction. In Pakistan , the position of Mrs Campbell, who converted to Islam upon her marriage, would be uncertain.

“Louise Campbell is a re-convert and according to Pakistani law an apostate is devoid of all rights and deserves punishment,’ said Mr Rana’s lawyer, Dr Abdul Biset.

Also at court with their father was Molly’s 17-year-old sister Tahmina, who had met Molly at her school at Stornoway and returned with her to Pakistan along with her father.

Initially, there were fears that Molly would be forced into an arranged marriage, but British friends of Mr Rana have dismissed the notion. Molly has told go-betweens that she returned to Pakistan of her own free will to be with her father and brothers and sister.

Mrs Campbell, 38, who launched her own custody action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Friday, did not wish to comment last night.

When contacted at his luxurious villa in a Lahore , Mr Rana said: “She is the mother of my children. I am not going into all this.”