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Pakistan releases Indian prisoner after six years

Pakistan today released Indian prisoner Hamid Nihal Ansari, who was detained by the country’s intelligence agencies in 2012 and subsequently sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a military court in 2015 for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card.

Ansari, a 33-year-old Mumbai resident, was lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by the military court on December 15, 2015. His three-year jail term ended on December 15, 2018, but he was not able to leave for India as his legal documents were not ready.

Ansari went missing after he was taken into custody by Pakistani intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court. He entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.

A two-judge Peshawar High Court bench, on Thursday, heard an appeal filed by Ansari. The court asked the Additional Attorney General to explain how would they keep the prisoner in jail after completion of his term. An officer, representing the interior ministry, informed the court that a prisoner could be kept for one month while the legal documents were being prepared. After knowing the legal position, the court directed the ministry to make all the arrangements within a month for releasing and deportation of the prisoner.

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