Mumbai’s Hamid Ansari returns home after being held in Pak for six yrs

Former Mumbai teacher, Hamid Ansari returned to India on Tuesday evening, after completing his three-year prison sentence in Pakistan jail.

A little past 5 pm Ansari crossed over to India at the Wagah border. His parents and brother were waiting on the Indian side of the border. Ansari stepped over the line after the retreat ceremony and fell immediately to the ground to kiss the soil. Moments later, his family was beside him.

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“My son went with noble intentions,” said Ansari’s mother, Fauzia Nehal Ahmed Ansari. “Hamid had no bad intentions, but initially went missing and was later caught and framed. He shouldn’t have gone without a visa. His release is a victory for humanity,” Hamid’s mother told ANI. He has been in Pakistan for six years.

Ansari, now 33, was awarded three-year imprisonment by a military court in December 2015 after being slapped with charges of espionage and involvement in anti-state activities on him. The court gave the verdict after the Ministry of Interior appraised it that Ansari will be repatriated after completion of his prison term on December 15.

A former teacher at the Mumbai Management College, Ansari went to Pakistan in 2012 to meet a woman whom he had befriended through social media. Ansari went missing after he was apprehended by the Pakistan intelligence agencies and local police from Kohat district in November 2012.

She added to her statement that initially, they were not in touch with Hamid for almost three years.

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“We were ourselves not sure whether he was dead or alive because there was no contact between us,” Hamid’s mother said. But through his friends over the social media, especially Facebook and by the help of media people in Pakistan they came to know that their son stayed in a hotel for sometime before disappearing.

Hamid’s mother also added that a Habeas Corpus petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court, followed by a military trial on December 15, 2015, and three years of prison sentence. On January 13 the Court informed that Ansari was in the custody of Pakistani Army and was being tried by a military court.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had in August 2016 asked Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad to seek Consular Access to Ansari.

Despite, reiterating, time and again that her son did not travel across the border with any bad intentions, Hamid’s mother noted that it was the fault on the part of her son that he went to Pakistan without carrying any valid document as a proof. At the same time, she also thanked both the Indian and Pakistani government’s help in resolving the dispute and repatriating her son to India.

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The Pakistani security agencies claimed Ansari had used fake identity card in the name of “Hamza” and he had entered Pakistan through Afghanistan without travel documents. They charged him for “anti-state activities.” Ansari later filed a petition challenging the allegations of being a spy and sought better treatment in prison.

Social activist Jatin Desai, who had helped the Ansari family in repatriating Hamid back to India, also noted that people residing on both sides the border who want peace and reconciliation between India and Pakistan, do not want such detentions to happen in the near future.

“Hamid went to find his love. There was no evil in his intentions. We hope that both the countries should look forward to a new beginning,” Desai told ANI.

He further added that especially after Imran Khan took over as the Prime Minister of Pakistan contentious situations between India and Pakistan seems to be on the verge of reconciliation, the latest example being of the opening of Kartarpur corridor. And in that pretext, Hamid Ansari’s return to India is an important move for both the countries. “I would like to appeal that the prisoners in both the countries should be released similarly,” Desai added.

(With ANI inputs)

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