Meanwhile, a ‘love story’ that starts in Mumbai, stuck in a Pakistan jail

Nehal Hamid Ansari went missing in Pakistan while searching for a girl he fell in love with over the Internet.

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai | Updated: January 15, 2016 11:10 am
Nehal Hamid Ansari is in Pak army custody; his parents in Mumbai. Nehal Hamid Ansari is in Pak army custody; his parents in Mumbai.

For over three years, Fauzia Ansari had been desperately trying to trace her son who went missing in Pakistan while searching for a girl he fell in love with over the Internet. On Thursday, this Mumbai school teacher woke up to the news that her son was in the custody of the Pakistani army.

By evening, she had confirmed the news through her lawyer in Pakistan: the Lahore High Court had been informed that Nehal Hamid Ansari faced a court-martial on unspecified charges. As night fell, it was still not clear why the management graduate was being court-martialled, but a tearful Fauzia finally said, “At least, he is alive.”

As Indian officials confirmed in Delhi that they would “be seeking information and consular access from Pakistan in the next few days”, Fauzia sat at the dining table of their rented fourth-floor apartment in Versova, staring vacantly at the neatly labelled files and folders with documents and photos of her son.

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Then, flipping through one of those folders, she said, “It’s been over three years… now there is some closure. Even if he is in military custody, we know he has done nothing wrong and hope he gets a favourable sentence.”

Ansari, then 27, left home on November 5, 2012, claiming he was headed to Afghanistan in search of a job. But his family later came to know from officials and associates that he was in love with a woman from the Kohat region of western Pakistan, and had decided to cross over to prevent her marriage with another man.

According to police, Ansari was allegedly convinced by friends and contacts in Pakistan that he could enter the country easily from Afghanistan. Indian High Commission officials in Pakistan believed he had been arrested by local officials for entering the country illegally.

On Thursday, the Dawn website reported that Pakistan’s deputy attorney general Mussaratullah Khan had informed court that “the defence ministry had informed him that the missing man… was in the army’s custody and was being court-martialled”.

“The bench later disposed of the habeas corpus petition filed by the detainee’s mother, Fauzia Ansari, observing that the petition had become infructuous…” the report stated.

Fauzia and her husband Hamid, a lawyer, said they are now trying to obtain more information on their son’s case — Ansari’s brother is a doctor.

Asked about her son’s disappearance, Fauzia said, “We last spoke to him on November 10, 2012, when he told us that he would be returning soon as the visit to Afghanistan was not fruitful. However, after November 15, when his phone was not reachable, we lodged a complaint at the Versova police station. I then saw his emails and Facebook pages. The last email was sent to a girl identified as ‘Saba’, stating that he was with Attubhai. When I went through his Facebook pages I learnt about his friendship with a few Pakistani nationals. The police probe revealed that the email was sent from Pakistan. This confirmed that my son’s last location was in Pakistan. I tried calling his Facebook friends but they never spoke to us.”

Fauzia said she filed the writ of Habeas Corpus in April 2014 with help “from Abdul Rauf Rohilla, district governor of the Pakistan Rotary Club Midtown”.

“I also got in touch with a Pakistan-based journalist who travelled to the area from where my son had gone missing. She spoke to the people who he had befriended over Facebook. She also met the father of the woman for whom my son travelled to Pakistan. The father told her that his daughter was married to another person but refused to share her contact details,” she said.

Fauzia added that she also suspected “a conspiracy” surrounding her son’s case, claiming that the journalist’s family had informed her that she had been missing since last August.

The Ansaris said they now hope the government would pursue the case with Pakistan. “I would be able to see my son in flesh and blood,” said Hamid.

Breaking down, Fauzia added, “At least give us a visa to travel to Pakistan to see our son. We have applied for a visa more than 20 times but we don’t even know if they even processed our requests.”

Hamid and Fauzia said their son’s case has taken a severe toll on their lives — and not just in the Rs 20 lakh they’ve spent so far on “fees to Pakistani lawyers and the numerous rounds made to Delhi”.

“Once while on the road, reading a message related to the case on my phone, I got knocked by a car and had to undergo surgery. Now, I have a rod fixed in my ankle. We have suffered a lot in the last three years and our only wish is that we see our son once more,” said Fauzia.

(With inputs from Shubhajit Roy in New Delhi)

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  1. S
    Saqib
    Jan 15, 2016 at 6:46 am
    Wow, as a muslim so encouraged by the reading the comments of the tolerant ppl here. Nobody knows why he really went there. He may be an ic lover or an isi/ raw agent.
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    1. N
      Nigeria
      Jan 15, 2016 at 6:48 am
      Hamid and Fauzia: peace, be still! It shall be well; you'll surely see your son again in flesh and blood.
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      1. A
        Amrit Rao
        Jan 15, 2016 at 9:41 pm
        I salute Nihal Ansari and the Indian girl Mehrunissa. They made supreme sacrifice for their country and attempted to infiltrate stani establishment in behalf of RAW. Hope India will take care of them. The govt. of India treated RAW spy Surbajeet Singh shabbily. He spent thirty years in stani jail after getting caught. He was freed upon recommendation of stani human rights activists. However Surbajit Singh got mad at Indian govt. for lack of monetary compensation and promotion. He disclosed to BBC that the govt had been paying a paltry sum of of Rs 150 to his wife while he was in jail. That proved that he was a spy. The stani govt had to face voters’ ire upon disclosure that Surbajit Singh was an Indian spy. This time around they don’t want to take a risk. Anyone going from India to stan and Afghanistan stani is thoroughly vetted. How come they managed to go? All indications are they are spies. Brave and patriotic!
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        1. A
          Anand Subbarathnam
          Jan 15, 2016 at 11:16 am
          I think this Fauzia Ansari was a teacher in Cosmopolitan College Mumbai and taught FYJC and SYJC students HIndi in 1988. She taught me. Can anyone give her mobile number ?
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            anil
            Jan 15, 2016 at 5:19 am
            This is not fault of stanis. This is the fault of mostly Indian muslims who move to terrorist Islamic state of stan. Let them suffer, we do not care .
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            1. R
              Rajesh
              Jan 15, 2016 at 6:04 am
              Because Mullahs reproduce like insects. You need to do it, many of you will be suicide bombers. So you need as many pigs as you can find.
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              1. R
                Rajesh
                Jan 15, 2016 at 6:47 am
                If they miss him, they can also go join him in stan. I will pay for the ticket. How no fault of theirs? They raised him. If you raise a fool who wants to go to stan, most likely for jihadi training, it is your fault.
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                1. R
                  Rajesh
                  Jan 15, 2016 at 7:34 am
                  RAW agent? Ha ha! A Mullah dying for India? Impossible. For 72 houris, definitely!
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                  1. R
                    Rajesh
                    Jan 15, 2016 at 6:01 am
                    What is the problem? One of the Mullahs actually listened to us and went to stan. Please dont bring him back. He will be happier there in that "tolerant, secular" jihadi country.
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