Friday June 09, 2023

FIA misused Interpol's system to get yellow notices against minors Zainab and Zuneriah

Interpol confirms receiving requests from Pakistan's govt to issue yellow notice against Sophia Mirza's daughters

August 23, 2022
Zainab (L) and Zuneirah Umar are the daughters of actor Sophia Mirza and businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photos provided by the author
Zainab (L) and Zuneirah Umar are the daughters of actor Sophia Mirza and businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor. — Photos provided by the author

LONDON/DUBAI: The General Secretariat of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) has confirmed that it had received requests from the government of Pakistan to issue Yellow Notices against the minor daughters of actor Sophia Mirza and businessman Umar Farooq Zahoor.

The Interpol has confirmed that international Yellow Notices for twins Zainab Umar and Zuneirah Umar were issued and their names were placed on the Interpol database for international tracing after two requests from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were received on April 30, 2020 and then again in the month of July 2020 on the request of Sophia Mirza who wanted her daughters to be traced by the Interpol and taken back to Pakistan.

Names of Zuneirah Umar and Zainab Umar have been deleted after an investigation by Interpol which found the legal custody of both the daughters had already been granted to Umar Farooq Zahoor being their father and legal guardian by the Shariah Court of Dubai.

The two letters issued by the Office of Legal Affairs General Secretariat of Interpol confirm that Zuneirah and Zainab, both of whom are 15 years old, are no longer “subject to an INTERPOL Notice or diffusion”.

Yellow notices are specifically issued to help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves. In this case, the FIA was clearly used for revenge and personal purposes as both Sophia Mirza and the FIA have known the location and full contact details of Umar Farooq Zahoor and the twins who live with their father in Dubai.

Zahoor and Sophia Mirza have been engaged in one of the longest-running court battles of kids’ custody and the FIA, Sophia Mirza and other institutions were well cognisant of the whereabouts of Zahoor and his daughters in Dubai but the FIA misinformed Interpol that it was not aware of the location of the teenage twins and further requested Interpol to declare them as missing persons. Similar Notices were issued in the past in 2010 but later got deleted after UAE authorities refused to extradite Umar Farooq Zahoor and his daughters.

It is also important to mention that Article 83(1)(a)(i) of Interpol’s Rules on the Processing of Data specifically prohibits the issuance of any Notices in family disputes and custody cases. Despite the clear mandate of Interpol laws and regulations Pakistani authorities through FIA completely misused the system for their own gains.

The Interpol letter says: “After a thorough examination of the elements before it, the Commission found that the data challenged raised questions as to compliance with applicable rules. As a result, it considered that the retention of these data in the INTERPOL Information System was not compliant with INTERPOL’s rules and decided that they should be deleted. This decision was forwarded to the INTERPOL General Secretariat which has now deleted the data challenged from INTERPOL’s files.

The Interpol document further says: “Additionally please be advised that the INTERPOL General Secretariat has informed all INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs) that · in the application of the decision made by the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL's Files, the General Secretariat has deleted the data relating to Ms Zainab Umar and Ms Zuneirah Umar; all international police cooperation via INTERPOL’s channels in these cases would not be in conformity with INTERPOL’s Constitution and Rules.

“The INTERPOL General Secretariat also urged all NCBs to update their national databases accordingly, as well as to verify that the same is done by all national entities that have access to INTERPOL information.”

The Interpol letter is addressed to Umar Farooq at his office on Burj Al Salam, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Geo and The News had revealed earlier how in June 2020, Sophia Mirza (whose real name is Khushbakht Mirza) was helped by the FIA under Shahzad Akbar’s instruction to give her full support in her custody battle against her former husband Umar Farooq Zahoor who is based in Dubai. A source in the FIA shared that the agency acted against the twins as it was under pressure from the top for action through Interpol.

Although a private dispute between Umar Farooq Zahoor and model Sophia Mirza, the matter was taken to the federal cabinet by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s accountability advisor Shahzad Akbar for approval of the summary to initiate several actions against Umar Farooq Zahoor. The FIA Lahore Chief Dr Rizwan started action against Umar Farooq Zahoor: his name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL), non-bailable warrants in one of the first information reports (FIRs) were obtained from court without fulfilling the legal requirements, and on the basis of said non-bailable warrants, his passport and CNIC were blacklisted and red notices were issued through the Interpol by National Crime Bureau (NCB) Pakistan for arresting Zahoor.

In an interview last week, Zainab and Zunairah told The News and Geo that their mother planned to get them arrested and kidnapped to Pakistan after asking them to meet in either Saudi Arabia or London.

Sophia Mirza and Umar Farooq Zahoor have been engaged in a legal battle for the custody of their two daughters for 15 years. Mirza says she needs the custody of their two daughters Zainab and Zunierah but the daughters have come out saying they are happy to live with their father and don’t agree with the demand of their mother.

The teens have been living with their father for 15 years in Dubai as Mirza and Zahoor had separated a few days after the birth of the twins. The model initially handed over the twins to her ex-husband through a court settlement but later started a custody case and the matter reached a UAE court which gave full custody to him.

Sophia Mirza didn’t respond to questions about the Interpol Yellow notices. An FIA spokesperson confirmed that the FIA wrote to Interpol to issue Yellow Notices for the minors.