Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday released Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari upon completion of his sentence.
In a tweet, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said: “Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents, is being released upon completion of his sentence and is being repatriated to India.”
Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, was lodged in Mardan Central Prison after being sentenced by a military court to three years’ imprisonment for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card on December 15, 2015.
He was arrested in Kohat district in November 2012 for illegally entering the country from Afghanistan.
The security agencies reported Ansari had used a fake identity card in the name of ‘Hamza’ and he had entered Pakistan through Afghanistan without travel documents. They had charged him for ‘espionage’ and ‘anti-state activities’.
Earlier on Thursday, a two-judge Peshawar High Court bench, comprising Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan, heard an appeal filed by Ansari through a senior lawyer. The petition said that the federal government hasn’t taken any steps for his release.
Ansari’s lawyer, Qazi Mohammed Anwar, said that his client’s prison term will end on December 15 and he should be released on the morning of December 16.
Ansari will not leave for his country immediately as the Peshawar High Court granted the government a month to complete his repatriation process. He will be handed over to Indian authorities in January at Wagah Border. Till then, he will be kept at internment centre.
Ansari was tried in a military court and was awarded three-year imprisonment on December 15, 2015. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2012 with a fake Pakistani identity card. India said that Ansari had crossed the border to meet a girl he met online.
The government of Pakistan had signed a treaty with India regarding the exchange of nationals, under which both the governments have at least one month to initiate and complete the process of repatriation.
On November 30, an Indian journalist questioned Prime Minister Imran Khan about the progress on the case. The premier said that it was the first time he has heard of it. “We will do our best,” he said.