India’s Hamid Nihal Ansari released from Pak jail returns home

PTI

Attari: Hamid Nihal Ansari, who was repatriated by Pakistan after six years in jail, being received by his mother Fauzia Ansari, at Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (PTI Photo)

Attari: Hamid Nihal Ansari, who was repatriated by Pakistan after six years in jail, being received by his mother Fauzia Ansari, at Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. (PTI Photo)

Indian national Hamid Nihal Ansari crossed over into the country at the Attari-Wagah border here after being released from a Pakistani jail where he had spent the last six years.

Ansari, 33, was met at the border by members of his family in an emotional reunion.

The Mumbai resident was arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.

His jail term ended on December 15 but he was not able to leave for India as his legal documents were not ready.

On Thursday, the Peshawar High Court gave the Pakistan government a month’s deadline to complete his repatriation process.

The Indian national was released from Mardan jail on Tuesday and was shifted to Islamabad for his onward journey to India, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Ansari, a software engineer, went missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.

He entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.

Pakistan claims that Ansari was an “Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents.”

A two-judge Peshawar High Court bench, comprising Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan, on Thursday heard an appeal filed by Ansari through his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar.

Anwar informed the bench that both the Ministry of Interior and authorities of prison, where he was lodged, were completely silent about his release and deportation to India.

After hearing this, Justice Khan asked the Additional Attorney General to explain how would they keep the prisoner in jail after completion of his term.

An officer, representing the interior ministry, informed the court that a prisoner could be kept for one month while the legal documents were being prepared.

After knowing the legal position, the court directed the ministry to make all the arrangements within a month for releasing and deportation of the prisoner.

(PTI)