Dubai: Lithuanian mother Maimouna Liskauskaite is no longer alone in her battle to be reunited with her children. Following last week's XPRESS cover story, scores of people have rallied behind her. Taking the lead in the Dubai woman's fight is the Association of Russian Compatriots in the UAE, an organisation working under the patronage of the Russian Embassy.
On Sunday, Marina Kreidi, a representative of the association, met officials at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai and urged them to step up efforts to help Maimouna get her three daughters back.
Maimouna, 30, was devastated after her husband of seven years, Pakistani national Dr Jamshid Seddiqi, took their daughters out on the pretext of taking them to a park on April 4, but instead flew with them to Pakistan and disappeared.
The girls Mariam, 7, Aisha, 5, and Amna, 3, are all Lithuanian passport holders.
"We met Sardar Mohammad Khattak, Head of Chancery, Pakistan Consulate, and asked him to look into the matter urgently. This isn't just a domestic issue - it's a lot more serious because the girls are Lithuanian citizens. We are terribly worried about their safety," Kreidi told XPRESS. Kreidi said she was intrigued how Dubai airport authorities allowed minor children to board the plane even though they were not accompanied by their mother.
"As per international norms, a parent flying out of the country with minor children needs a letter from the non-accompanying parent authorising permission to travel.
"More so, when the children are travelling to a country they don't belong to. Why didn't airport authorities see anything amiss when they saw a man checking in with three minor girls?"
Kreidi said she's also investigating how the girls got Pakistani visas: "As far as I know, Lithuanian girls as young as them can't get a visa to Pakistan unless their mother also has a visa for the same country. I am also in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lithuania. We need to get to the bottom of this."
Meanwhile, several readers wrote to XPRESS expressing support for Maimouna who was rendered homeless after Jamshid sent her divorce papers from Pakistan and her in-laws asked her to vacate their Jumeirah villa.
"Please tell this lady to come to Pakistan... and contact me.... I shall help her," wrote one reader from Islamabad giving her cell number and e-mail address.
With the help of a Dubai-based legal firm which has volunteered to fight her case for free, Maimouna has filed a case in Dubai Courts seeking custody of her children.
The court will hear the case on June 30.
THE STORY SO FAR
1996: Maimouna, formerly known as Edita, meets Dubai-born Pakistan national Jamshid in Lithuania
January 2, 2003: She embraces Islam, Jamshid gives her a new name — Maimouna
January 17, 2004: They get married in Lithuania
October 2004-April 2008: The couple has three daughters — Mariam, Aisha and Amna
December 2010: The family travels to Dubai to live with Jamshid's father in his Jumeirah villa
April 4, 2011: Jamshid tells Maimouna he's taking their daughters to a park but instead flies with them to Pakistan
April 8, 2011: Jamshid sends divorce papers to Maimouna accusing her of being a bad Muslim. Jamshid's parents ask Maimouna to leave their house.
June 16, 2011: XPRESS reports Maimona's story (see inset)