Activist Desai at Wagah to receive Mumbai techie freed by Pak
Mumbai: Journalist and activist Jatin Desai, who made it a mission to get back Indian national Hamid Nihal Ansari jailed in Pakistan, accompanied Ansari's family to the Wagah border to receive him following his release.
Ansari, 33, a Mumbai resident, was released from a Pakistani jail on Tuesday to be repatriated to India, six years after he was detained by intelligence agencies for entering the country illegally reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.
Desai, who is general secretary of the Pakistan-India Peoples' Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD), had started a dialogue for peace by establishing connection between the Press Club of Mumbai and its counterpart in Karachi.
The city-based activist pursued the case relentlessly by getting in touch with his contacts in the neighbouring country. His efforts led to Pakistani rights lawyer Rakshanda Naz and Qazi Mohammed Anwar taking up the case with authorities in their country.
On getting the news of his release, Desai went along with Hamid's father Nihal Ansari and mother Fauzia Ansari to the Wagah border in Punjab to welcome him and get him back home.
"We reached the Wagah border on Tuesday morning. We all are waiting for Hamid as he is expected to leave from the Pakistan side to India," said Desai.
"Hamid's release formalities will take some time. He will arrive anytime today. We are expected to be in Mumbai tomorrow," he said.
Hamid's father Nihal Ansari, who is a retired bank officer, expressed happiness over his son's release and thanked Indian and Pakistan governments for their efforts towards it.
He said he and his other family members were eager to see Hamid.
The Indian national was released from Mardan jail on Tuesday and was shifted to Islamabad for his onward journey to India, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.
Hamid Ansari, a software engineer, went missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police at Kohat in 2012.
Finally, in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, the high court was informed that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court.
He entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.
Pakistan claims that Ansari was an "Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents."
He was detained by Pakistan's intelligence agencies in 2012 and subsequently sentenced to three years' imprisonment by a military court in 2015 for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card.
The 33-year-old Mumbai resident was lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by the military court on December 15, 2015. His three-year jail term ended on December 15, 2018 but he was not able to leave for India as his legal documents were not ready.