The case of Z v Z concerned a couple who married in the country. The father initially returned to the UK, making occasional return visits, but when the mother’s application for a visa to live in the UK was refused, he moved to Pakistan on a permanent basis.
A child, now aged three, was born. The father opened a fabric shop, then entered into a second marriage, but later claimed to have divorced the second wife.
When the child was issued with a British passport by the High Commission in Islamabad, the father then brought her back to the UK. He claimed to have done so with the mother’s permission, but she denied this, saying she had in fact been “extremely distressed”. She immediately began legal proceedings to have the child returned.
Testimony given in court via video link from Pakistan supported her claim that she had not consented to the child’s removal.
Sitting in the Family Division, Mrs Justice Hogg ruled that the child was ‘habitually resident’ in Pakistan from a legal perspective and should be returned. The child had been born and raised in Pakistan but had then been taken to alien environment of the UK. If the child remained, the mother would also lose all contact as she was unable to visit the UK. The father, however, could travel back to Pakistan if he wished to do so.
Photo of the Pakistani flag by Shahzeb Younas via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence