Hamid Ansari to return to India via Wagah today: Indian national was in Pakistani custody for six years on espionage charges

Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian national lodged in a Pakistani jail for six years on espionage charges, will return to India on Tuesday via the Wagah Border. Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said it was "a matter of great relief, especially for the family members that six years of incarceration of the Indian civilian in Pakistan jail is coming to an end".

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Pakistan, Dr Mohammed Faisal also shared the news in a statement on Twitter, referring to Ansari as "an Indian spy" involved in "anti-state crimes and forging documents".

Now 33 years old, Ansari will be reunited with his family at Wagah on Tuesday.

 Hamid Ansari to return to India via Wagah today: Indian national was in Pakistani custody for six years on espionage charges

File photo of Hamid Nehal Ansari. Puja Changoiwala

Who is Hamid Ansari?

An engineer and business professional from Mumbai, Ansari had gone to Kabul, Afghanistan, on 4 November, 2012, on a tourist visa for a job in aviation. He had entered Pakistan on 12 November using fake identification documents, to meet a woman from Kohat in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who he had befriended on Facebook.

He was arrested the same year and has been in Pakistani custody ever since.

Ansari was tried by a military court and sentenced to three years in prison in December 2015. He was convicted on charges of possessing a fake Pakistani ID and has been lodged at the Kohat Central Jail in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, since then.

According to his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar, Ansarai was assaulted by fellow inmates at the Peshawar prison at least three times in 2016.

On Saturday, the Peshawar High Court set a two-month deadline for Pakistani authorities to have Ansari deported to India. This was after his advocate filed an appeal in court saying the government had yet to take any measures to release Ansari even though his jail term was ending soon.

Anwar told the two-judge bench that his client's prison term was to end on 15 December and that he should be released the next morning. After the Pakistani government claimed that the process to deport Ansari would take longer as the relevant documents were not ready, the high court set the deadline.

But Ansari's freedom came sooner than expected. Two days later, the Pakistani government conveyed to its Indian counterpart that Ansari would be released and sent back to India on Tuesday.

"It is unbelievable that tomorrow, I will see him finally and he will be on Indian soil," said Ansari's mother Fauzia Ansari.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2018 08:56:39 IST