Updated: November 30, 2017 8:10:38 am
NEARLY THREE weeks after it offered a meeting between jailed former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and his wife, Pakistan is considering the possibility of allowing a meeting between Hamid Nehal Ansari, the 32-year-old from Mumbai who was arrested in the country five years ago, and his mother, official sources told The Indian Express.
Ansari was arrested in 2012 by Pakistani forces in the Kohat region, near the Afghanistan border, for crossing over illegally in search of a Pakistani woman he had befriended over social media.
Sources said the Indian government is also pushing for a “remission”, or cancellation, of the three-year rigorous imprisonment awarded to Ansari by a Pakistani military court in December 2015. “We are expecting some positive news soon,” sources said.
Sources said the meeting may be different from consular access sought by India. “It is likely to be a family meeting on humanitarian grounds. A final decision will be taken soon,” sources said.
So far, India has made 52 requests for consular access to Ansari. Pakistan’s foreign ministry has told Delhi that its authorities are “mindful of their responsibilities regarding Ansari who is safe, secure and in good health”.
Ansari was 27 when he was arrested from a hotel in Kohat. After leaving Mumbai for Afghanistan on a tourist visa on the pretext of searching for a job in November 2012, Ansari allegedly crossed into Pakistan without travel documents and with a fake ID card under the name “Hamza”.
His whereabouts were unknown until 2015, when Pakistan said that Ansari was tried in a military court and awarded a three-year jail term starting December 15 that year.
Ansari was one of the 546 Indian nationals, including nearly 500 fishermen, who were being held in Pakistani jails, according to a list shared by Pakistan on July 1 this year.
In November, Ansari filed a petition with the Peshawar High Court requesting that he should not be treated as a spy as he was not involved in “anti-state activities” and had only entered the country without valid documents. Citing these grounds, he had sought “remission” of his sentence.
Subsequently, the bench of Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Ijaz Anwar Khan asked Pakistan’s defence and interior ministries as well as the provincial Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to submit their replies.
Ansari’s mother Fauzia had previously said she came to know months after her son left that he was in love with the woman he had befriended and had crossed over to prevent her from marrying another man.
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