A filmmaker has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Bombay High Court seeking the Interpol's intervention for the safe return of his two minor children said to be "illegally" held in Pakistan after his wife, a Pakistani national, left with them in 2020.
The filmmaker said the wife's "inexplicable conduct is perhaps at the behest of some unidentified persons with oblique motives who may have coerced or brainwashed the her against the Petitioner, and is holding her, along with the children as hostages in Lahore, Pakistan."
A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and NR Borkar issued notice to Ministry of External Affair, India, among other respondents after hearing the petitioner and posted the matter for hearing on August 29.
The filmmaker contended that his children aged 6 and 9 are both Indian citizens and their visit visas expired on October 13, 2021. Moreover, while the daughter's passport expired last year, the son's passport will expire next month, the plea states.
According to the petition, the two met in London at a Pakistani University where the woman was working as a professor, and returned to India after a marriage ceremony in Lahore in 2012. Thereafter, the wife applied for Indian citizenship and the couple was also blessed with two children.
However, in 2020, the wife said she wished to visit Pakistan along with the children. Accordingly, they left for Pakistan on November 26, 2020 and haven't returned since. The wife expressed her desire to extend her stay citing her father's ill health.
"It appears that since then, the Respondent No. 6 may have been brainwashed, or coerced to extend her stay in Pakistan and illegally detain the minor children who are Indian citizens. The retention of the minor children till date has effectively amounted to illegal detention on account for the reason that their visas have expired on 13 October."
He said that the wife hasn't given any plausible reason for not returning. However, she seems to have filed a guardianship petition for appointment as lawful guardian of their children in February 2021.