Pak releases Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal after 6 years

Pak releases Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal after 6 years

Hamid Nihal Ansari

In a big relief, Mumbai youth Hamid Ansari, who has been languishing in a Pakistani jail for the last few years, has been released and would be repatriated to India on Tuesday.

“It is a big news, Hamid Ansari is being released...its a big relief to the family,” Jatin Desai, general secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), told DH over the phone from New Delhi

“His parents are currently in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for formal paperwork,” said former Mumbai MLA Krishna Hedge.

Both Hegde and Desai have been helping the family to secure the release of Hamid Ansari. 

Hamid’s parents  Nehal Ansari and  Fauzia Ansari had been running from pillar to post to secure the release of their son since the last few years. “We thank the Pakistan and Indian governments,” the emotional Ansari couple said.

Meanwhile, online reports quoting Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal claimed that Ansari was an "Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan."He was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents, is being released upon completion of his sentence and is being repatriated to India," the spokesperson said.

Hamid Ansari, an engineer and MBA, now around 33, has been missing since November 2012 and his parents Nehal Ahmed Ansari and Fauzia Ansari had left no stone unturned to trace him.

The Mumbai youth who was in Kabul, Afghanistan for a job interview in November 2012 was befriended on Facebook and become close to a Pakistani girl. Hamid is believed to have reached Kohat in Pakistan in an attempt to save this Facebook friend who reportedly was being forced to marry someone twice her age following a Jirga decision. She shared her story with Hamid who became determined to help and save her. It is clear from the communication between Hamid and the Pakistani girl that she was in despair and sought Hamid’s help.

On 12  November 2012 Hamid Nehal Ansari crossed over from Afghanistan border in Jalalabad to Peshawar, Pakistan - where he was caught by the Pakistani army and intelligence. 

Hamid was sentenced to three years in January 2016 by a military court of Pakistan. 

PIPFPD and many other campaigners for Hamid’s release have consistently maintained that while Hamid Ansari violated the Passport Act, he is innocent of the kind of charges that were made against him.  “He entered Pakistan "illegally" to meet his love in Kohat. They met over social media. Hamid was sentenced to three years in January 2016. He was already been in custody for a long while before that. Hamid and his family have paid a heavy price for his rather naïve act. They should not be made to suffer more. Hamid’s immediate family consisting of his parents and brother have been in turmoil for the past several years. His mother retired as a Professor. His father was a banker and now practises as a lawyer, and his elder brother is a dental surgeon,” said Desai.