This is how to get things done, and get the right things done. The cabinet yesterday approved Pakistan’s accession to The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. Pakistan becomes the first South Asian country to do so; leaving India behind.

Essentially, the Convention guarantees parental custody rights to be accepted worldwide, regardless of where in the world these court decisions have been taken, whether in Pakistan, or in any other Hague Convention on Child Abduction signatory. Thus decisions taken by Pakistani courts, and foreign courts, would find equal respect in all parts of the world governed by the Convention. Pakistani courts have shown maturity in several cases involving the treaty in past years – but have received no credit for it. Until now.

Today, Pakistan stands officially recognised in the ranks of the countries that are signatories to the convention. This means many Pakistani children stranded abroad will finally be able to return home to their families.

It is important to credit here the many people who worked tirelessly – and against much opposition – to prepare the file for the Convention and see it through its many stages. Mr Ishaq Dar, Finance Minister, was the tremendous and unstoppable force behind the convention moving through cabinet. Mr Zahid Hamid, federal law minister, was responsible for all of the paperwork. Mr Khurram Dastgir, Minister of Commerce, is to be thanked for adding his voice in support at a vital moment. The law secretaries of all provinces, for sending their No Objection Certificates, as well as the President of Azad Kashmir, Mr Masood Khan, for his personal interest and involvement in the AJK government’s decision to add its voice in support. Ms Maryam Nawaz Sharif, for listening to the many cries for help from abroad of children wanting to return to their families. And Mr Shahbaz Sharif, for providing the impetus that helped the Convention through some of its most challenging stages.

It is also not possible to forget the many bureaucrats and civil servants who help Pakistan cross such milestones. Mr Mohyuddin Wani, Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, and the Principle Information Officer, Mr Rao Tehseen, have both had instrumental roles to play in this achievement, and deserve thanks.

Now all that remains is for the Foreign Secretary to formally notify The Hague, and Pakistan’s name will be published by The Hague authorities in a place of pride, besides the law-abiding, modern nations of the world.