Parents of a Mumbai engineer jailed in Pakistan for alleged espionage have requested authorities in the neighbouring country to show compassion and release him on humanitarian grounds.
“I appeal to Indian and Pakistani governments to see the case of my son with compassion and above politics,” said Fauzia Ansari, mother of 31-year-old engineering and management graduate, Hamid Ansari, who has been sentenced to jail for three years by a Pakistani court.
Ansari had crossed over illegally to Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012 reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online and then went missing. He was later arrested and tried by a Pakistani military court, which pronounced him guilty of espionage.
Ansari’s parents had filed a Habeas Corpus petition in a Pakistani court when they came to know in January that their son was in the custody of the Pakistan Army.
He was convicted on Sunday in Kohat, a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, and was shifted to Peshawar Central Prison.
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“On January 13, we came to know that our son was alive and was in Pakistan Army’s custody and was facing a trial. We were hopeful that finally we will be able to get him back safe and sound. But the recent development came as a jolt to us and we will have to wait for more time to get our son back to India,” said 55-year-old Fauzia.
“We are not giving up hope. We have faith in god. We have faith in the Indian government and judiciary and we will do all that is possible from our side to get him back safely,” said Fauzia, who recently underwent an ankle surgery after she met with an accident.
“We are confident that both governments will agree that a human life is precious and an educated young guy like him should not suffer in a Pakistani jail,” she said.
“I am not sure what crime my son has committed. As per his chats with his friends from Pakistan on Facebook before he went missing, he crossed over to Pakistan to help a girl who was a victim of a social evil,” said Fauzia, who is a Hindi lecturer in a junior college here and has undergone an ankle surgery after she met with an accident while crossing a road.
Ansari’s father’s Nehal Ahmed Ansari (59), is a retired bank manager and elder brother Khalid Ansari (32) is a dental surgeon.
ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, whose NGO has also been involved in efforts to locate the youth, said, “We thank those in India and Pakistan who worked ceaselessly to trace Hamid.”
“We are convinced he is innocent. He went there to meet his beloved whom he befriended on Facebook. He had absolutely no intention of getting into spying activities,” Kulkarni told PTI.
“We are with his parents. The biggest relief is that he is alive. By all accounts he has already spent three years in captivity and should be released on humanitarian grounds,” Kulkarni said.
Ansari has a right to appeal under the Pakistan Army Act. India had sought consular access of the engineer and asked Pakistan to ensure his safety and security.
Over three years after Ansari went missing in Pakistan where he had allegedly gone to meet a girl he had befriended on the Internet, authorities last month admitted that he has been in army custody and facing a trial in military courts.
In light of the information, a two-member bench had on January 13 disposed of a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the convict’s mother against his alleged illegal detention.
Court had asked the government to respond to the petition by Fauzia on the whereabouts of her son.
In response, Military Intelligence Directorate said that Ansari was in military custody and is being tried by a military court.
Ansari was taken into custody by police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials in Kohat, about 70 kms from here, in November 2012.