Geeta's case to be settled through diplomatic channels

Islamabad: A Pakistani court disposed of an application of an Indian lawyer seeking custody of a deaf and mute woman and observed that diplomatic channels should be used since the matter involved two countries.

Geeta (Guddi), now 21, has been brought up at Edhi Home where she has been residing for the past 13 years.

She was found sitting alone on Samjhauta Express in Lahore and was believed to have come from India after crossing the Wagah border by train, Dawn online reported.

The court disposed of as not being maintainable the application filed by Momin Malik, the Indian lawyer, under Section 552 (power to compel restoration of abducted females) of the criminal procedure code.

The applicant named the Edhi Foundation as respondents and asked the court to call for a report about the confinement of Geeta.

The lawyer also sought permission to obtain her handwriting and blood samples in order to ascertain whether she was an Indian national and identify her family, as five Indian families have claimed her as their family member.

The applicant approached the Indian high commission in Islama­bad, but the diplomatic move was delayed for one or another reasons.

The applicant's counsel, Khawaja Mohammad Azeem, argued that the application may be allowed in the interest of justice since there was no alternative remedy available to approach Geeta.

Sessions judge Ahmed Saba said the applicant was required to submit an application through proper channel with the Indian high commission.

The court ruled that proper procedure and diplomatic channels were to be adopted since the matter involved the two countries and it was to be resolved with mutual consent.

It was the specific domain of the Indian government to ascertain the nationality of the woman at the first instance, the court order concluded.

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