External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian high commissioner in Pakistan to seek consular access to an Indian prisoner who was attacked at least thrice by inmates in a Peshawar jail.
Hamid Nehal Ansari, a Mumbai resident, was arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online. He suffered injuries in attacks by inmates in the Peshawar Central Prison.
On Saturday, Sushma Swaraj tweeted:
I am very much disturbed to read about repeated attacks on Hamid Ansari who is detained in Peshawar jail since 2012. It is inhuman. /1— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 6, 2016
“I have asked our High Commissioner in Pakistan to seek Consular access to Hamid Ansari in hospital/Jail and report.”
Ansari, 31, was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a military court for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card. Ansari’s lawyer lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar told Peshawar high court bench on Thursday 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.
Ansari was attacked and injured three times over the last couple of months and shifted to the hospital for treatment, the counsel said. He said even the head warden would subject him to brutality and slap him on a daily basis without any reason.
Ansari had gone missing after he was taken into custody by intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed on January 13 that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.
‘Bring him back’
Meanwhile, Ansari’s mother has urged the government to do everything it can to bring him back from the neighbouring country.
“We have come to know through media and our advocate also informed us that such an incident has happened with Hamid,” said Fauzia Ansari in Mumbai on Saturday.
“Our request to the Indian government is to help Hamid, who has not committed any heinous crime. His mistake was to go there with fake documents and he has already suffered a lot for this,” she said.
It has been four years that Hamid is in a Pakistani jail, she said.
“I don’t know what crime my son has committed. As per his chats with his friends from Pakistan on Facebook before he went missing, he crossed over to Pakistan to help a girl who was a victim of a social evil,” she said.
She also requested the Pakistan government to show mercy on him and send him back.
Chairperson of Mumbai-based Observer Research Foundation Sudheendra Kulkarni termed the incident unfortunate and condemnable.
“Hamid Ansari has suffered this attack inside the Pakistani jail,” he said. “We have been campaigning for his early release and return to India. We are convinced that he hasn’t committed any offence,” Kulkarni told PTI.
“I urge authorities in Pakistan to ensure his safety and early return to India,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)