Pakistan court tells government to free Indian national within a month

He was arrested in Pakistan in 2012 for illegally entering the country from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.

Published: 14th December 2018 06:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2018 06:49 PM   |  A+A-

Hamid Nihal Ansari. (Photo: Facebook)

By PTI

ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR: A top court in Pakistan has given a month’s deadline to the Federal government to complete formalities to deport Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal Ansari, whose three-year jail term will end on Saturday.

Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, is currently lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by a military court to three years’ imprisonment for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card on December 15, 2015. 

He was arrested in Pakistan in 2012 for illegally entering the country from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.

A two-judge Peshawar high court bench, comprising Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan, on Thursday heard an appeal filed by Ansari through a senior lawyer. The petition said that the federal government hasn’t taken any steps towards his release.

Ansari’s lawyer, Qazi Muhammad Anwar, said that his client’s prison term will end on December 15 and that he should be released on the morning of December 16.

Anwar informed the bench that the sentence of the Indian national would be complete after two days and both the Ministry of Interior and the authorities of the prison where he is lodged were completely silent about his release and deportation to India.

After hearing this, Justice Khan asked the Additional Attorney General to explain how would they keep the prisoner in jail after completion of his term.

“I wonder how after two days, the jail term of the prisoner will be complete, yet the government has not completed the requirements for releasing and deporting the prisoner,” the judge observed after additional attorney general informed the court that documents for release and deportation of the prisoner were not ready.

An officer representing the interior ministry informed the court that a prisoner could be kept for one month while the legal documents were being prepared.

After knowing the legal position, the court directed the ministry to make all the arrangements within a month for release and deportation of the prisoner.

On previous hearing, deputy attorney general recorded his statement on behalf of the interior ministry and said Ansari would be handed over to Indian authorities at Wagah border after completion of his term.

Ansari had gone missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012. Finally, in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed her that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.

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