PAKISTAN-BASED advocate and human rights activist Rakshanda Naz, who represented Hamid Ansari, said on Thursday that the case was especially challenging because she was representing an Indian national accused of being a spy in Pakistan.
Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, she said: “When I met him for first time, he didn’t even have spectacles. He could not see properly. He got scared that an old woman was approaching him in jail. Today, when I spoke to him after he reached India, we laughed over that memory.”
Naz said that when Ansari reached Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2012, where the girl he had befriended on Facebook lived, her father informed him that she was already married. The girl, now aged 27, never met Hamid.
Naz first came across the case through Delhi activists. She later got all documents on the case and started working with advocate Qazi Muhammed Anwar. “I had pledged that I would personally witness his release from jail,” she said, adding that she read all chats between Hamid and the woman to confirm that he was innocent.
Hamid loved cheese burgers, so Naz would get special permission to bring him burger, rice and milk in prison. On multiple occasions, when Hamid was hospitalised, she personally looked after him.
Hamid’s mother Fauzia would call Pakistan regularly to reach Naz. Being a Pakistani national, she was also apprehensive of having strong links with an Indian national and of representing Hamid, she said.
In 1999, Naz was involved in the release of another Indian national from Pakistan jail. She works with Legal Aid and Awareness Services and is a pioneer in women rights.