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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 14:45 GMT
Court victory for Misbah's mother
Misbah/Molly
Misbah had said that she wanted to stay in Pakistan
A 12-year-old schoolgirl must return to her mother in Scotland, a judge in Pakistan has ruled.

Misbah Rana, also known as Molly Campbell, is at the centre of a custody battle between her estranged parents.

The case ended up in the high court in Lahore after the girl flew to Pakistan to be with her father in August.

Her mother Louise Campbell, who said she was "elated" at the ruling, added that her daughter would have a chance to say who she wants to live with.

The ruling in Lahore concerned whether an order by the Court of Session in Edinburgh last June giving interim custody to Ms Campbell, from Stornoway, was violated.

The judge ruled that Misbah must be handed over to the custody of the British High Commission within the next seven days.

Ms Campbell has an action lodged with the Court of Session in Scotland for permanent custody of her daughter.

Misbah and her father also have papers lodged with the Edinburgh court defending the action.

Misbah is very devastated, she was crying, she is very upset
Sajad Amed Rana
Misbah's father

Ms Campbell said she was overjoyed that her daughter would be coming back to Scotland but added that Misbah would be "confused and scared".

She told BBC Scotland: "My immediate thoughts are a big hug - hug her and breathe her in.

"I would love to talk to her on the phone to reassure her that the case is still going on over here and she gets to say her point of view.

"I think Molly is going to be quite scared and confused. I just want to tell her that it is all going to be okay - it's all going to work out."

The lawyer who represented Ms Campbell in court said she was eagerly awaiting her daughter's return.

Naheeda Mahboob Elahi said: "I spoke to Ms Campbell earlier and she is very happy and excited, very grateful.

"This was not a decision about custody. It was a decision on whether Mr Rana had acted improperly by violating the court order made at the Court of Session in Scotland in June last year."

The lawyer added: "Misbah should get a chance at the Court of Session to say who she wants to live with."

'Really pleased'

Mr Rana said his daughter was "devastated" by the decision.

Speaking outside the court in Lahore, he said he would be seeking legal advice about lodging an appeal to the supreme court.

Mr Rana said: "I was very surprised and shocked by this decision.

"Misbah is very devastated, she was crying, she is very upset.

"She doesn't want to go back to Scotland, she wants to stay here in Pakistan."

Shona Smith, a partner at Balfour and Manson Solicitors which is representing Ms Campbell in the UK, welcomed the ruling.

Ms Smith said it was in line with an agreement between the UK and Pakistan on how such cases should be handled.

She said: "We are pleased to note that the Pakistan court have now invoked the protocol ensuring Misbah is returned to the jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts to enable them to consider the merits of the case."

Misbah and her mother Louise
Misbah and her mother Louise before the child left for Pakistan

The youngster left her mother's home in Stornoway and travelled to Pakistan with her 18-year-old sister Tahmina three months ago, initially sparking a police search.

Ms Campbell made an emotional appeal for Misbah's return but the youngster stated publicly that she wished to live with her father and wanted to be known as Misbah.

Her mother lodged a petition in Pakistan claiming the youngster had been taken there illegally by her former husband and eldest daughter.

Ms Campbell did not attend the legal proceedings in Lahore.

Her lawyer said she had not travelled to Pakistan for health and financial reasons.

A proposed compromise based on a shared custody arrangement collapsed in court after Mr Rana's lawyer insisted that Misbah should only be allowed to see her mother in Pakistan and not be allowed to return to Scotland for at least two years.

The judge had said he considered this unreasonable.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Misbah with her family in Pakistan



SEE ALSO
Timeline: Misbah custody battle
29 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Court deal ruling by Misbah judge
17 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Misbah judge wants to meet mother
02 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Mother's legal move in Misbah row
19 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands
'Missing' girl wanted to leave UK
01 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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