Pakistan not responding to queries on film producer’s minor children: MEA to HC
The petition by the film maker was filed against the brother and parents of his wife and stated that as the visas of his children have expired, he is seeking direction to the ministry and police to facilitate the return of his family to India from Lahore, Pakistan, with the assistance of Interpol, if required.
MUMBAI: The central government has informed the Bombay high court that despite repeated reminders to the concerned ministry in Pakistan, they have not been able to ascertain the whereabouts of the children of film producer Mushtaq Nadiadwala, who has claimed that they went to the neighboring country with their mother in 2020 and did not return.
The Central government has filed an affidavit in high court stated that after the division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice NR Borkar directed the Overseas Indian Affairs division, a unit of the Ministry of External Affairs to contact its counterparts in Pakistan and find out the whereabouts of the producer’s minor children, who had accompanied their mother on a visit visa in November 2020.
The petition by the film maker was filed against the brother and parents of his wife and stated that as the visas of his children have expired, he is seeking direction to the ministry and police to facilitate the return of his family to India from Lahore, Pakistan, with the assistance of Interpol, if required. The petition had also sought that his children and his wife be located and protected with the assistance of Pakistan High Commission or Interpol until they return to India.
After hearing the petition through senior advocate MB Chatterji, the bench had earlier directed the ministry to file an affidavit on the steps taken by it to track and bring back the children.
The reply filed by Amit Mishra, deputy secretary, Overseas Indian Affairs division stated that following the September 2022 orders of the HC, the central government through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had sought immediate consular access to the minor children from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan. The communication had also sought to know the whereabouts of the children and the status of their visa, which had expired in October 2021.
The affidavit stated that though three reminders were sent by the High Commission to the September 2022 request, there had been no response whatsoever from the Pakistan government. The affidavit has assured the HC had it is following up with the concerned authority and as soon as there is a response the court will be informed about it.
The petition stated that after expiry of the visa period, the wife stayed back in Lahore citing ill-health of her father. However, it added, there was a possibility that due to alleged brainwashing or coercion by her brother and parents, his wife and children were compelled to stay back in Lahore.
The petition stated that though he requested his wife to return she refused, which indicated her conduct was perhaps at the behest of some unidentified person who might have coerced or brainwashed her against him.
“Their illegal retention in Pakistan is not only in gross derogation of immigration laws of both the countries but is also predominantly contrary to the best interest of their general well-being, upbringing and primary education,” the petition stated.
The bench was informed that the petitioner’s wife and her family had changed their address and were staying in a rented premises in Lahore and as their location was not known to him, he was seeking that his children be located and protected by the government agencies and be produced before the court.
The petition claims that both he and his father, who is 90-years-old, are in severe mental agony and have also deprived the minor children of love and affection of the father.