Schoolgirl who fled UK to live in Pakistan returns to Britain UK news

Molly Campbell, who ran away from her school on the Isle of Lewis four years ago to be with her father, is reunited with her mother

via Schoolgirl who fled UK to live in Pakistan returns to Britain UK news


Molly Campbell, 12, also known as Misbah Rana, leaves court with her father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, in Lahore, Pakistan, in November 2006. Photograph: KM Chaudary/AP

Molly Campbell, the Scottish schoolgirl who fled her home in Scotland to live with her father in Pakistan four years ago amid a custody battle, has returned to Britain – although it is unclear whether the move is permanent.

The teenager, who was 12 when she moved to Lahore after a highly publicised disappearance from her school on the Isle of Lewis, flew in last week from the subcontinent with her brother, Adam, 20.

Molly, also known as Misbah Rana, has spent the past four years living in Pakistan with her father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, where she attended an Islamic school.

She is staying in Blackburn with her sister, Tahmina, 22, who has also returned to live in England with her two-year-old daughter. Molly’s mother, Louise Fairlie, who still lives on Lewis, is also staying with Tahmina.

It is understood that Molly, now 16, returned to the UK with the approval of her father. He says his daughter is on holiday and has been enjoying sightseeing in London.

Molly’s mother, however, suggested the move was more permanent, saying: “We are very happy and we are all enjoying the family life that we have got. The past is behind us and we are moving on. We would now just like to be left alone.”

Molly’s disappearance in 2006 from the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, where she had been a pupil for just a few days, sparked an international furore. During an emotional press conference her mother, who was then called Louise Campbell, accused her husband of abducting Molly and said she feared her daughter might be forced into an arranged marriage. At the time, Fairlie was living with her partner, Kenny Campbell, and their six-month-old daughter in the Lewis fishing village of Tong.

It was later established that Molly had been picked up by Tahmina outside her school and the two had flown to Glasgow, where they met their father and headed to Lahore.

The following day Interpol launched a search for the missing girl. However, when Molly was tracked down in Pakistan she insisted her name was not Molly but Misbah, and claimed that life at her mother’s council flat in Lewis had been a “living hell”.

“It was my choice,” she said. “I asked my sister if I could go with her. I would like to stay in Pakistan with my father.” She said she was happy to have been reunited with her siblings, who were also living with her father in Pakistan.

Fairlie launched a legal battle to get her daughter back to Scotland, but in January 2007 she reached an out-of-court settlement with her ex-husband in which the couple agreed that Molly should stay in Pakistan and her mother would have rights to visit her and make regular telephone calls.

In December 2009, Fairlie – who is no longer in a relationship with Kenny Campbell and has custody of their four-year-old daughter, Rachel – gave an interview in which she said Molly wanted to return to the UK. “I know she wants to come back to Britain,” she said. “I found that out from somebody close to her who is in contact with my other children.”

She also accused Rana of blocking contact with Molly and claimed she had not heard from her daughter in six months. “I just keep hoping one day she will come back. There is nobody in my house anymore calling me Mama,” she said.

She added that her daughter had been “seduced” by her father’s relatively wealthy lifestyle in Lahore, but that reality had set in for the teenager. “Her father dazzled her with presents and a life of luxury. I was living in a council house with no carpets and little furniture.

“She and her brothers are not happy – I know that. They want to see their mother as well as their father. To make children choose is so unfair on everybody.”

Molly, Tahmina and Adam first moved to Pakistan to live with their father in 2003. When they returned to the UK in 2005, Fairlie applied for and won a claim for emergency custody of Molly and Adam, who moved in with her in Stranraer. Adam later left and Molly moved to Lewis with her mother and Kenny Campbell.








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