Aside from the high-profile case of Indian Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been in jail in Pakistan on charges of spying, Pakistan is considering the possibility of allowing another Indian, Hamid Nehal Ansari, who was arrested in Pakistan five years ago, to meet his mother.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the 32-year-old from Mumbai, 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.
According to sources quoted by the newspaper, 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.
Ansari’s mother had said she learnt 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.
This meeting is likely to 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. Consular access has been a tricky issue for both sides as Pakistan hasn’t heeded India’s request for access to Kulbhushan Yadav.
According to the report, so far India has made 52 requests for consular access to Ansari. Pakistan’s foreign ministry has responded by saying 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, said the report.