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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 20:38 GMT
Misbah's will key to custody move
Colin Blane
BBC News, Stornoway

After months of legal wrangling, The mother of schoolgirl Misbah Rana has offered to drop her claim for full custody of her daughter provided she has regular contact with her.

Molly Campbell also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, at a press conference in Islamabad, Pakistan
Misbah told a press conference she did not want to return to Britain

The village of Tong is three miles outside Stornoway, close to the sea and on the edge of a wide expanse of open moorland.

On a clear day like today the air smells clean and the light is soft.

This is the place that Misbah Rana, known as Molly Campbell here, decided to leave behind when she slipped away from the school gates last August to join her sister and father on the journey to Pakistan.

The house where she lived has been staked out by journalists all day hoping to hear from her mother Louise.

We were expecting to find her happy because it looked as if Pakistan courts were finding in her favour.

Instead, Louise Campbell has been inside having agreed to attempt an out-of-court settlement with her daughter's father which he hopes will allow her to remain in Lahore most of the time.

The reporters who had been covering the Scottish side of the story were surprised at the news that Louise was willing to consider a compromise.

After all she came to Stornoway for the stated purpose of keeping Molly away from her ex-husband Sajad Ahmed Rana.

Daughter's interest

When Louise Campbell did emerge from her home she clearly had little to say, explaining that she couldn't speak until it was all over.

A little later, in a statement issued through her Scottish lawyers, Ms Campbell explained her decision not to go ahead with her custody battle was taken with her daughter's interests at heart.

But Louise Campbell seemed to have the law on her side. From the day her daughter disappeared the police investigated under the Abduction Act, Ms Campbell had after all been Molly's legal guardian.

Then the high court in Pakistan ruled that Misbah Rana should be returned to her mother. The real sticking point throughout seemed to be Molly's attitude to the prospect of returning to Scotland.

Now taking the name Misbah, she criticised her mother and threatened to run away if she was made to go back.

She also stated bluntly she much preferred the luxury of life in Pakistan to the more simple surroundings of Stornoway.

Louise Campbell might have been winning the legal arguments, but in the end wasn't able to bring her 12-year-old daughter back onside.


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