Indian HC seeks consular access to man being held by Pak army

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 16, 2016 11:09 IST
The parents of the 30-year-old Mumbai man, who went missing in Pakistan three years ago, said on Friday that her son is innocent.

The Indian high commission has asked the Pakistan government for consular access to Mumbai man Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is in the custody of the Pakistan army, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet on Saturday.

On Thursday, reports emerged that the 30-year-old engineer who went missing over three years ago was being held in a Pakistani jail and facing trial in military courts. Ansari was in Pakistan to meet a girl he had befriended on the Internet.

He had befriended a Kohat-based woman through social media and crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan, where he gone in search of a job in November 2012, according to Qazi Muhammad Anwar, counsel for Ansari’s mother Fauzia.

He had been staying at a hotel in Kohat when the police, assisted by Intelligence Bureau officials, arrested him on November 12, 2012.

“The intelligence agencies arrested him from a hotel in Kohat and since then his family and friends have been unaware of his whereabouts,” Anwar was quoted as saying in the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune. He added that as per a police inquiry report, Ansari was being held by the intelligence agencies.

After Ansari went missing, his mother had filed a complaint at a police station in Mumbai. She had also contacted the Afghan consulate in the city. The petitioner subsequently sent an application to the human rights cell of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, which forwarded the case to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances in March 2014, the paper said.

In April, the commission directed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa home and tribal affairs department to form a joint investigation team to trace Ansari. An FIR was subsequently lodged at the city police station in Karak district in connection with the case.

Hamid’s mother Fauzia Ansari said that her son had gone to Kabul looking for a job.

“After a long struggle, we came to know that he is safe there under the watch of the government. We are at least satisfied that he is fine. He is very talented but he never got desired job. He didn’t have job satisfaction,” she told ANI.

“He came to know about the job opening of manager at Kabul airport. He went to Kabul. We were in continuous touch but after 10 days there was no contact,” she added.

She said that they had approached the Afghanistan embassy to inquire about her son. They later discovered that Hamid was trying to help a tribal girl who was being ill-treated in Pakistan.

“He was trying to help her and then he contacted other friends of nearby areas. They said that the girl is from tribal area, and no one can intervene in this,” she said.

“Maybe it wasn’t a right step though his intentions were good. We were so anxious whether he is dead or alive but we came to know yesterday that he is there,” she added.

She also thanked the Government of India for their efforts to help her son.

“(The) Indian government has been very supportive, they showed us many letters which they sent to the Pakistan high commission,” she said.

According to reports, a divisional bench of the Peshawar high court disposed off the case of Hamid after the government confirmed that he was currently in army custody and facing trial in military courts.

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