LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has directed the Ministry of Interior to remove the name of Pakistan ambassador to Liberia, former husband of model Sofia Mirza, from the Exit Control List (ECL) placed following criminal proceedings initiated by his former wife for illegally removing her twin minor daughters 14 years ago from the country.

Khushbakhat Mirza, famously known as Sofia Mirza, had married businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor, now Pakistan ambassador to Liberia, in 2006 and had twin daughters out of the wedlock.

In a petition filed before the LHC during 2007, the model contended that she had moved to Dubai after the marriage. Later she discovered that Zahoor was already married and had three children. Following fights with her then husband she returned to Pakistan where she gave birth to twin daughters namely Zainab and Zunaira.

Later, the model said, Zahoor visited her in Pakistan and forcefully took the minors with him to Dubai.

Mirza has been pursuing a series of litigation against her former husband for the recovery of her daughters. She got Zahoor placed on the ECL, cancelled his CNIC and passport as well through court orders.

Zahoor approached the LHC on June 3, 2021 for the removal of his name from the ECL and for the restoration of his passport and CNIC. His counsel told the court that all the proceedings against the petitioner had been done ex parte as no notice had been served on him at his present address abroad.

Justice Shujaat Ali Khan directed the ministry of interior to take immediate measures to remove the name of the petitioner from the ECL and for the withdrawal of his red warrants issued by the Interpol within three days to enable him to perform his diplomatic duties.

The judge also allowed an application of Ms Mirza to become a party on the petition of her former husband and adjourned the main petition for Sept 15.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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