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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 17:02 GMT
Misbah access fight far from over
By Steven McKenzie
BBC Scotland news website, Highlands and Islands reporter

Misbah/Molly and her mother Louise Campbell
Misbah and her mother in happier times
What started as a police investigation into a possible child abduction has spiralled into a long and complicated courtroom battle.

The tug-of-love over Misbah Rana, also known as Molly Campbell, has to date run for nearly six months.

Despite an offer by her mother to drop her claim for full custody provided she has regular access to her daughter, the case looks far from being resolved.

The very public international dispute over Misbah Rana was sparked the moment she walked out the gates of her school in Stornoway on a Friday afternoon last August.

Instead of going home to her mother's council house, she embarked on a long journey to Pakistan.

After meeting her older sister Tahmina at her school, the Nicolson Institute, the pair flew to Glasgow Airport where they met their father Sajad Rana.

The trio then boarded a flight for Lahore, Pakistan, which stopped at Dubai en-route.

Poles apart

Meanwhile, in Stornoway, police launched an investigation into a possible child abduction.

A photograph released to the media at the time shows Misbah grinning alongside her mother, who is also smiling.

The blissful image of mother and daughter was poles apart from the scene at an emotional press conference called by Northern Constabulary where Ms Campbell made a tearful appeal to her estranged husband to return Misbah to Scotland.

Mr Rana's family disputed the abduction claims and, in September, Misbah declared publicly that she had left Scotland of her own free will and wanted to remain in Pakistan.

The same month saw the start of legal proceedings in Pakistan.

Sajad Rana
Sajad Rana insists Misbah must see her mother in Pakistan

In November, a judge in Lahore ruled that the girl be handed over to the British High Commission within seven days so that she could be returned to the UK.

However, Mr Rana lodged an appeal and Misbah was allowed to remain in Pakistan until a hearing at the Supreme Court in Islamabad.

The legal process has taken its toll on Ms Campbell's health, driving her to seek a swifter out-of-court settlement.

Her lawyer has told the Supreme Court that Ms Campbell would be willing to drop her claim for full custody on condition she has regular access.

The warring parties have been asked to return to the court on 17 January with written proposals for such a settlement.

However with Ms Campbell looking for Misbah to visit her in Scotland and Mr Rana preferring any contact to take place in Pakistan, the family feud still looks a long way from being resolved.

Misbah's mother in custody offer
10 Jan 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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