–Family of convicted spy, Indian officials welcome him at Attari border
ISLAMABAD: Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari, who served a three-year sentence for espionage in Pakistan, crossed over to India from the Wagah-Attari border on Tuesday, a day after Islamabad announced his release after completion of his jail term.
The convicted spy was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border in the evening after being taken to Lahore from Mardan jail. Ansari’s family had reached the Attari border to receive him.
The FO spokesperson had announced Ansari’s repatriation on Monday. The Indian national completed his three-year sentence for espionage and other crimes on Saturday.
“Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents, is being released upon completion of his sentence and is being repatriated to India,” FO Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said in a tweet.
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 later convicted by a Field General Court Martial on charges of espionage and anti-state activities on Dec 15, 2015. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment. He denied the charges and claimed that he had visited Pakistan to help a female Facebook friend in Kohat as she was in trouble.
Ansari’s lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar told a Peshawar High Court (PHC) bench that his client was attacked at least thrice by jail inmates in recent months. Anwar also told the court that Ansari had been kept in a death cell with a hardened criminal awaiting execution for a murder.
On Dec 13, a PHC bench had directed the Interior Ministry to make arrangements for the deportation of the Indian national within one month of the completion of his three-year prison term.
The PHC bench had observed that government departments should make all arrangements before the completion of Ansari’s prison term, as keeping him in detention beyond the sentence would tarnish the image of the country.