In violation of a 2008 Indo-Pak agreement, Pakistani citizen Ghulam Zannat Ansari’s son Mohammad Waqar Saleem, 29, has been in Kolkata’s Alipore Central Jail for six years without any access to Pakistani consular services.
The 60-year-old Ansari, who is a widow and a struggling primary school teacher, has written to the prime minister, the union home minister, UPA chairperson and West Bengal chief minister seeking help.
“The prosecution is using every possible tactic to get trial delayed on one or the other pretext,” wrote Ansari in her letter dated October 24.
An agreement signed on May 21 2008 provides for consular access to Pakistani prisoners in India within 90 days of his/her arrest, apart from periodic exchanges of lists of jailed citizens.
Saleem, 29, was arrested from Pilkhana in Howrah on January 2006 and police slapped cases under Officials Secrets Act and Foreigners Act.
Ansari, who spoke to HT from her Rehmat Colony residence in Bhawalpur said, “He left home in November 2005 and went to Bangladesh to do business in garments. But he went missing soon after. I ran from pillar to post searching for him, and in 2007 I came to know that he is in a Kolkata jail.”
For counseling, the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi allotted 15 dates, but the jail authorities never sent him. Saleem also sent a number of petitions to jail authorities over the issue, but to no avail.
“We are aware of the rules. But there is a problem of transportation. Inmates have to be taken to New Delhi amid high security and brought back safely. Why don’t they (consular officials) come here?” said Ranvir Kumar, inspector general, jails, on Tuesday.
On November 11, in a separate case, the Supreme Court came down on the Centre and sought a comprehensive report of Pakistanis in jails throughout India without trial.
An enquiry by HT revealed at least six such Pakistani nationals languishing in Bengal’s jails who were denied any access to consular counselling services.