Petition of Hamid Ansari, held in Pakistan for ‘espionage’, to be heard today | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Petition of Hamid Ansari, held in Pakistan for ‘espionage’, to be heard today

An IT engineer from Mumbai travelled to Afghanistan five years ago in order to illegally enter Pakistan, reportedly to meet a woman he had befriended online.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2017 12:21 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hamid Ansari’s parents showing his picture in Mumbai.
Hamid Ansari’s parents showing his picture in Mumbai. (File)

The petition of Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian national who was detained and charged with espionage when he sneaked into Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012, will be heard by a court in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.

The case of Ansari, an IT engineer from Mumbai, has seen many twists and turns since he travelled to Afghanistan five years ago in order to illegally enter Pakistan, reportedly to meet a woman he had befriended online.

Days after he illegally entered northwest Pakistan, he was detained by police in Kohat and handed over to intelligence agencies. However, his detention was never officially acknowledged.

After Pakistani rights activists took up his case in the Peshawar high court, police finally admitted in January 2016 that he had been detained.

In February 2016, reports emerged that he had been convicted of espionage by a military court during a trial held behind closed doors and given a three-year jail term.

The petition filed by Ansari’s counsel, a Peshawar-based rights activist and lawyer, seeks remission in his sentence on the grounds that he has spent more time in detention than the three-year sentence given to him. The petition will be heard by a court in the town of Mardan , where Ansari is being held in the central jail.

Ansari was shifted to the prison in Mardan after he was attacked several times in the jail in Peshawar. Pakistani authorities have turned down more than 30 requests from India for consular access to Ansari.

However, there is some confusion over the hearing as jail officials have said such a hearing cannot take place since Ansari was charged and convicted of “antistatic” activities and therefore the remission rules do not apply to him.

A remission is usually given to prisoners in lieu of public and religious holidays and for good behaviour, the officials said.