Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari’s jail term will end on December 15, but he will not be able to leave for his country immediately as the Peshawar High Court has granted the government a month to complete his repatriation process.
A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan, on Thursday 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 said that his client’s prison term will end on December 15 and he should be released on the morning of December 16.
Ansari was tried in a military court and was awarded three years’ imprisonment on December 15, 2015. Ansari was arrested in Pakistan in 2012 with a fake Pakistani identity card. He had crossed the border to meet a girl he met online.
On December 11, the bench had directed the interior ministry officials to appear before the court and explain in detail Ansari’s release and safe return to India.
Following the court orders, a section officer of the interior minister appeared told the court that it will take them a month to complete the process for his return and will hand him over to Indian officials at Wagah border. This angered Justice Amin and he directed the officer to explain why the government needs one month? “Under what law you will be keeping him in confinement?”
The interior ministry official told the court that Ansari will be kept in internment centre. The bench then directed the officer to contact the interior secretary and inform the court about the plan to release Ansari within one hour.
After the break, when the hearing began, a team of lawyers appeared in the courtroom on behalf of the interior ministry and argued that Hamid Nehal Asari has completed his jail term and will be released on the morning of December 16.
The lawyers further explained that the government of Pakistan has 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.