LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – A court Monday decided to delay an earlier ruling that ordered a 12-year-old girl sent back to her Scottish mother, lawyers for the estranged parents said Monday.

A two-member panel of judges at the High Court in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore ruled the girl, Molly Campbell, also known as Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, should not be taken out of Pakistan until Dec. 8, according to Dr. Abdul Basit, a lawyer for the girl’s Pakistani father.

Naheeda Mahboob Elahi, a lawyer for the girl’s mother, confirmed the court’s decision.

The two-member appeal panel said the girl cannot leave Pakistan until authorities decide whether an appeal of last week’s ruling should be sent to Pakistan’s Supreme Court or handled in an Islamic court, Basit said.

Last week, a judge at the Lahore High Court ordered the girl handed over to British authorities within a week so she could be taken back to her mother, Louise Campbell, in Scotland, following her petition seeking her custody.

The father, Sajad Ahmed Rana, appealed the ruling over the weekend and the High Court’s appeal panel set Dec. 8 as the date for hearing the case.

The case has drawn international attention since August, when the girl arrived from her Louise Campbell’s home to live with her father and other siblings in Lahore. The mother says her daughter was taken against her will, but the girl has said publicly she wants to live in Pakistan.

Louise Campbell said a Scottish court gave her the custody of Molly in 2005, and that her daughter was taken illegally from Scotland by her father.

The girl’s embattled parents – Rana and Campbell, who had converted to Islam – married in a Muslim ceremony in Glasgow in 1984 and have four children, including two sons and two daughters.

After their parents separated, the three other siblings began living with Rana in Pakistan, and were joined by their 12-year-old sister when she arrived in August.

AP-ES-12-04-06 1128EST


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