A Pakistani court has directed authorities to inform it about the arrest and expected date of release of Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari, who was given a three-year prison term by a military court.
The Peshawar high court sought the information from the federal interior ministry and the home department of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on Wednesday.
A two-judge bench led by Chief Justice Mazhar Miankhel also directed the Peshawar central prison to provide Ansari proper medical treatment and the diet recommended for him by a doctor for ailments he has been suffering from, according to a report in the Dawn newspaper on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Mumbai resident went missing in Pakistan in November 2012. Ansari illegally crossed over to Pakistan from Afghanistan to search for a girl from Kohat region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa whom he met on social media and fell in love with.
Pakistani authorities earlier admitted that Ansari, an MBA graduate from Rizvi College in Bandra, was in the army’s custody and facing trial in a military court. Ansari’s parents have said he is innocent and should be released as he has already spent several years in a Pakistani jail.
The Peshawar high court issued its directives while hearing a petition filed by Ansari, who asked the judges to include the period of his detention in the three-year prison term given to him by the military court on February 10.
Qazi Mohammad Anwar, Ansari’s lawyer, said if his client was given the benefit of Section 382-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the period of his detention prior to his conviction would be included in his prison term. If this is done, Ansari should have been released by now, he said.
Anwar pointed out the provincial home department had stated that Ansari was entitled to the benefit under Section 382-B but it was yet to ascertain the date of his arrest.
He further said that during a meeting in prison on April 28, Ansari had given him a letter that stated he could not communicate freely because of the presence of officials. He added Ansari had told him he was suffering from some stomach problem and the doctor had advised him to eat only milk and rice.
The lawyer said Ansari was given milk only for a single day and he feared he might be suffering from stomach ulcer. He said Ansari’s eyesight had also been affected and he needed immediate treatment.
Anwar said officials had confined that Ansari was being held in a vacant death cell as a ‘hifazati qaidi’ (protective prisoner). Ansari also told his lawyer that he was earlier held in a barrack where a prisoner tried to attack him.