Pakistan releases espionage accused Indian national Hamid Ansari

The Mumbai based software engineer was held by intelligence agencies when he allegedly entered northwest Pakistan illegally to meet a woman he befriended online. He was lodged in Peshawar central jail for three years after crossing the border in 2012.

Hamid Nehal Ansari
Mumbai: Fauzia Ansari cannot control her excitement and has lost her appetite due to the fact that her son will finally return home after spending three years in a Pakistani prison after going missing in 2012. Hamid Nehal Ansari’s parents are en route Amritsar and will board a bus again for Wagah border where they will be reunited with their son after six years on Tuesday.
Now 33-years-old, Hamid Ansari spent three years languishing in a Pakistani jail on charges of espionage after being arrested in 2012.
Back in 2012, the Mumbai based software engineer was held by the intelligence agencies when he allegedly entered northwest Pakistan illegally to meet a woman he befriended online. He was tried by a military court and given a three-year sentence in 2015 for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card on December 15, 2015.
He was lodged in the central jail in Peshawar after the sentencing. His jail term ended on December 15, 2018, but he could not leave for India as his legal documents were not ready.
Pakistani officials wanted to charge him with espionage and terrorism but failed to produce any evidence. Ansari was after all a modern day “Romeo” who travelled to Pakistan illegally in search of a girl he was in love with.
“Mrs. Ansari is accompanied by her husband Nehal Ansari and peace activist Jatin Desai, who took up Hamid Ansari’s cause when he first travelled to Afghanistan and disappeared in November 2012. Mr. Ansari, who was 27 years old then, had struck up a love affair online with a girl in Pakistan’s Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, and was determined to find her, especially after he heard that her family would forcibly marry her off. He crossed over from Afghanistan to Pakistan with false papers, by his own admission, and was handed to the authorities by the girl’s family in Kohat when he reached,” The Hindu reported.
Fauzia Ansari, a college professor, began her campaign for his release in 2016 after she became aware that Hamid was alive but imprisoned.
“The media became our voice, and when we were not being heard, it was the media that raised the case, both in India and Pakistan,” said Ms. Ansari, thanking what she called were “farishtas” or angels in the Indian government, and in Pakistan who had helped along the way, including human rights activist Zeenat Shehzadi, an octogenarian lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar, who fought Hamid’s case without charging a fee, and advocate Rakshanda Naz, who oversaw his release, providing clothes and food for the just-released prisoner,” the report said.
“According to legal experts, he should have been freed earlier as he had already spent three years in jail at the time of his sentencing. Ansari, a software engineer, went missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Peshawar high court was informed he was in custody of the Pakistan army and was being tried by a military court only after his mother, Fauzia Ansari, filed a habeas corpus petition through Pakistani lawyers,” reported Hindustan Times.
Saying that Hamid’s release was a victory for humanity, his mother Fauzia said, that he shouldn’t have gone without a visa. “He went with noble intentions but initially went missing and was later caught and framed. He shouldn’t have gone without a visa. His release is a victory for humanity,” she told ANI.

 The Peshawar high court had recently given a one-month deadline to the Pakistan government to complete formalities for Ansari’s repatriation after hearing an appeal filed by his lawyer.
Officials said Ansari’s case was a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Pakistan had not responded to 96 requests by India for consular access.
The External Affairs Ministry said that they have a received a message from Pakistan which said that Ansari will be released on Tuesday.



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