Pakistan found itself in the unlikely company of India in the group of nations that require a special legislation on surrogacy to deal with complex issues of domestic and international surrogacy. There is no special legislation on surrogacy in Pakistan, and the Lahore High Court decided that surrogacy is neither allowed nor permitted.
Pakistan’s Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court decided the first case involving a surrogacy arrangement and subsequent parental rights that arose from it. The crux of the facts of the case is that the biological mother, Farzana Naheed, claims complete parental rights over the child, Fatima, under the ground that she was the wedded wife of the biological father when the child was born. The alleged Biological Father of the child, Farooq Siddique, in his late 50s, claims that he had entered into a surrogacy agreement with the biological mother, and that the child was born through surrogacy. He further claims that the child is not genetically related to the biological mother, Farzana.
With this background, the biological mother filed an application under the Code of Criminal Procedure for the custody of the child in the Sessions Court. The Sessions Court transferred her custody to the mother two weeks after the birth of the child. The child is now is now eight years old and her legal status is still in limbo.
The alleged Biological Father of the child, Farooq Siddique, then moved to the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court on appeal and presented the surrogacy agreement to the Court to assert his claim over the child. The High Court hearing a case on surrogacy for the first time, said that there was no law on surrogacy in Pakistan. The court further stated that even if there is a law that allowed surrogacy in Pakistan, there is no material evidence to prove that the Siddique is the biological father of the child. Siddiqui had alleged that Naheed and her relatives had tried blackmailing him for more money while she was pregnant. Contrastingly, the court also did not accept the fact that the marriage took place between the biological mother and Farooq Siddique as the biological mother could not prove her marriage to him in a satisfactory manner.
The court stated that the custody of the child should rest with the biological mother Naheed and that her poverty should not stand in her way for exercising parental rights over her child. Further, since there is no special legislation on surrogacy existing in Pakistan, the Court had no legal material to accept or reject the prayer of the biological mother and decided the case as in the case of a normal petition for custodial rights.