The feelings of oppression and despair that Molly Campbell was feeling as a result of being forced to live in Stornoway are just shining out of her face - aren't they?
Whilst the news that Mohammed Sarwar MP 'hopes to track her down using his contacts in Pakistan'
conjures up an image of the balding, overweight Sarwar pounding the mean streets of Lahore in deep cover like a Kipling character, one sincerely hopes that his efforts are informed more by a genuine concern to reunite Molly with her mother rather than with whatever electoral implications he might face in Glasgow Central.
After all, Glasgow's in the Central Belt and Stornoway's in the Western Isles - and Sarwar's own constituents are hardly getting his full attention while he's off playing The Great Game back in the 'hood.
You have to love the big fella, though. Despite living in Sotland for the past 34 years, only Mo Sarwar could come out with a comment like this
"After talking to Molly I'll be able to let you know that she left the country happily and that she was not forced to leave. "
Some of us call that putting the cart before the horse.
However, Sarwar is at least doing something; and for that he deserves the limited benefit of whatever doubt is doing the rounds.
Sadly, neither doubt nor consideration should be afforded to the thoughts of Bashir Maan
; and after his performance yesterday, he should never again be considered a credible figure nor have a role to play in Scottish public life.
"Mr Maan, the president of the National Association of British Pakistanis, defended Molly’s father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, over allegations of abduction and forced marriage after Ms Campbell’s appeal on television for her daughter’s safe return. He presented a different version of the events in which Molly vanished on Friday outside her school on Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, and was taken by her father and oldest sister to Pakistan.
Mr Maan claimed that far from being tricked or coerced into flying to Lahore, Molly, also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, had begged her father to take her with him. He claimed that she no longer wanted to live with her mother in Tong, a council estate outside Stornoway, where they moved nine months ago. She allegedly told her father that she wanted to be with him and her siblings in Pakistan, where she had lived for three years until her Scottish mother was given residence...
Last year the father and children, who had all moved to Pakistan in 2002, returned to Britain for the wedding of Omar, the oldest son. While they were in Britain, Ms Campbell successfully appealed to the courts for the two youngest children to live with her, Mr Maan said.
He said: “The father went to see Molly a few months ago and she started crying and wanted to go with him. He told her that he couldn’t because he would be breaking the law. He left her there but told her he was trying to get access through the courts, and said the family would come regularly to see her. But on Thursday Molly’s sister and father went to see her and she was clinging to them saying , ‘Please don’t leave me here.’ ”
Mr Maan said that Molly had phoned the police, her mother and her teacher to say that she had left willingly. However, others said that Molly had not been in touch with her father, and believed that he had been planning to force her into a marriage. "
The facts of this situation seem to be clear.
A court order has been made at the instance of Louise Campbell, perhaps after the representations of Sajad Ahmed Rana have been heard. It states the law of the land, and directs with which of them their daughter Molly Campbell, also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, is to live. Molly is a minor child, and although her preference might carry some weight with the court, and even although she might be deemed fit to make her own representations, the court must decide with which if her parents she should live on the basis of what is in her own best interests.
The court has spoken; for the moment, the law is clear.
Sajad Ahmed Rana has deliberately broken the court order - and Bashir Maan seeks to either justify or explain his actions.
Thanks but no thanks, Mr. Maan.
In the same camp as Maan is Osama Saeed
, who's been quoted in today's 'Scottish Daily Express'
as likening Rana's actions to those of the Fathers4Justice
campaign; not the greatest case you could ever make for 'fathers' rights', nor the best mitigation you could offer for a scofflaw like Sajad Ahmed Rana.
Camilla Cavendish points out some horrifying statistics
on the abduction to Pakistan of children resident in Britain, of whom no doubt some, like Molly, will have been the subject of court orders. That such orders are breached so easily speaks of a culture of contempt for British law within some elements of the South Asian community.
If such a culture exists it has to be smashed. It is uncivic and contrary to the rule of law which guarantees our freedoms.
So it's time to throw down the gauntlet to some prominent Scots-South Asians, and ask them some difficult questions.
And where is the usually vocal human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar
? Is there no effort he could make to reunite this mother and her daughter, removed from the United Kingdom in direct contravention of the laws which, as an officer of the court, he is bound to uphold? Has Molly's right to enjoy the protection of a court order made in her best interests not been breached? Is the right of all citizens to have their laws obeyed not to be observed?
Folks, at least Sarwar's doing something - what are you doing?