The Hague Convention on Child Abduction is a treaty that many countries around the world have signed, but as yet Pakistan is not amongst those ranks. As expected, the only body opposing this monumental step towards securing the protection of children caught in international custody battles is the Council of Islamic Ideology, which continues to churn out an obsolete and extreme worldview, to the derision of critics and the exasperation of lawmakers.

The fundamental purpose of the Convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent, by encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence, and to secure the effective rights of access to a child without unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. The idea is that custody and visitation matters should be decided by the proper court in the country of the child’s habitual residence, all the while keeping the focus on the well-being of the child.

Under the Convention, a country has the discretion to refuse to return an abducted child or grant access to the child if there is a risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm or otherwise placed in an intolerable situation in his or her country of habitual residence. The CII has somehow found that this clause is against Islam, as well as the Constitution of Pakistan (which it isn't). The CII’s interpretation of this clause and their objection to it defies any possible logical argument and one cannot fathom why protecting a child against harm would be against our religion.

The decision to not sign the Convention is the latest in a tediously long list of problematic decisions taken by the body in the recent months and perhaps it is time to do away with any such body that rejects rationality and reason. May the government have the courage and support it needs to sign on to the convention, in the better interest of all affected by it.