Indian in Pakistan jail has to wait till January 31 to know his fate

Hamid Nehal Ansari

PESHAWAR (TIP): Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari, languishing in a Pakistani jail, even after serving a 3-year prison term, has failed to secure his release as authorities did not submit the record of his conviction by a military court and his jail warrant to a top court here.

Ansari, a Mumbai resident, was arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online. He was tried in a military court and was given three years’ rigorous imprisonment.

In November last year, he had filed a petition in the Peshawar High Court, pleading that he should not be treated as a “spy” as he was not involved in “anti-state activities”. Though India has sought consular access to Ansari, Pakistan has not yet provided it, the Ministry of External Affairs had said in New Delhi earlier this month.

Resuming the hearing in the case, the two judge Peshawar High Court (PHC) bench, comprising Chief justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Mohammad Ghazanfar, asked the respondents about production of Ansari’s conviction order by the military court as well as details of his jail warrant.

However, the respondents did not submit the record of his conviction and his jail warrant that the court had earlier directed to produce today, the Express Tribune reported.

Later, the court strongly directed the authorities to produce the records by January 31 and adjourned the case.

Ansari’s legal woes comes at a time when India has legally challenged at the International Court of Justice the death sentence given by a Pakistani military court to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, for alleged spying.

During the hearing of Ansari’s case, the court was told that the security agencies had recovered some photographs of Pakistan’s sensitive locations from his possession, especially of the military related areas, the Express Tribune said.

However, the authorities did not provide any details to support their claim, the report said.

Lawyer for Ansari, Qazi Muhammad Anwar, argued in the court that the Indian national was investigated by the security forces and tried by the military court.

He was sentenced to three-year imprisonment only for his illegal entry into Pakistan as nothing else was found against him to prove him a spy.

“Under the law, he has already completed the three-year jail term as he is behind bars in Pakistan since 2012 and should be released now,” he said.

The counsel told the court that in Mardan prison Ansari is being treated like a spy as his jail warrant is also stamped with phrase ‘anti-state activities’ despite the fact he was not found to be involved in any such activities.

“Nehal Ansari is not a spy. He was tried by the military court and was awarded three year imprisonment, which he has already completed,” Anwar told the court.

Ansari was arrested by security agencies in 2012 from a hotel in Kohat, allegedly with a fake ID. According to his petition, he had come to Pakistan to meet a girl he had befriended on social media.

Ansari was tried in a military court and was given a three-year rigorous imprisonment that started from December 15, 2015. (PTI)

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