After Six Years in Pak Custody, Mumbai's Hamid Nehal Ansari Returns Home to an Emotional Reunion
Over the past six years, the only status update that the Indian authorities had was a "very brief" telephonic conversation that was allowed by the Pakistani authorities between his mother Fauzia Ansari and him last year in November.
It was an emotional reunion for Hamid Nehal Ansari, a young engineer from Mumbai who went missing in 2012 and was later found 'incarcerated' in Pakistan, as he crossed the Wagah border on Tuesday and met his overwhelmed parents.
The fact that Ansari was in detention only came to light when a young Pakistani journalist reported about him and started following his case that turned out to be a real-life 'Veer-Zaara' gone horribly wrong.
It was in 2015 that Pakistan admitted to having Ansari in their custody. He was summarily put through proceeds in a military court as he was accused of espionage despite his family, back in India, crying helplessly that their son had probably crossed over from Afghanistan to meet a woman he befriended online and then fell in love with.
It's been an uphill task for the family and the authorities in getting Ansari back. Ninety-six requests for consular access were rejected by Pakistan. Over the past six years, the only status update that the Indian authorities had was a "very brief" telephonic conversation that was allowed by the Pakistani authorities between his mother Fauzia Ansari and him last year in November after much pressure from the Ministry of External Affairs, said a source.
Sources, whom News18 spoke with, also noted with much regret that despite Ansari having already stayed three years in confinement from 2012 to 2015, the opaque military court did not take into consideration his time spent in prison. He was awarded a three-year jail term in December 2015 and ended up spending a total of six years in prison. One source pointed out that he was moved from a Peshawar jail to one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recently.
India issued a strong note verbale on December 11, mentioning this fact. It stated, "He has been languishing in Pakistani jail/s for about six years now and no consideration was shown towards his pre-trial custody period of more than three years." It also pointed out that despite repeated requests there was no "official communication with regards to charges levelled against him and sections of relevant penal code under which he was tried."
The note verbale also mentioned 11 other Indians whose identity had been confirmed by India and who had already served their sentence in Pakistan but have not been released so far. It mentioned one Indian by the name Babli Bhai, who finished his prison term way back in May, 2014 but had not been released. The other 10 have all finished their sentences on or before 2017 but were still languishing in prison in Pakistan.
Pakistan has not allowed any consular access to India to its citizens in custody since July this year when the second list of the bi-annual exchange of prisoners details are done. They allowed one between January and July this year. India, on the other hand, has allowed four consular access this year, said a source. There are presently 400 Indian fishermen in Pakistani custody as well.
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