Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian national in the custody of Pakistani authorities, was repatriated on Tuesday. He was united with his family at the Wagah-Attari border crossing where his mother and peace activists welcomed him.
The return of Mr. Ansari, who had been missing in Pakistan since 2012, took place after he completed a three-year prison term. He had reportedly entered Pakistan through the Northwest of the country to meet a woman he befriended on social media.
After two years of trial and investigation, he was given the prison term in 2015.
Mr. Ansari’s release was preceded by tense moments as it took several days of waiting before the Pakistan government announced its plan to repatriate him. The Hindu was told that the Pakistani authorities took a sympathetic view of the case and a few weeks ago allowed his mother Fouzia Ansari to speak to him. Ms. Fouzia spearheaded the struggle to bring her son back.
India has welcomed the repatriation as a matter of “great relief.” “We would like Pakistan to take action to also end the misery of other Indian nationals and fishermen whose nationality has been confirmed and who have completed their sentences but continue to languish in Pakistan jails,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
With the release of Mr. Ansari, the fate of the other high-profile Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav comes into focus. While the former was accused of espionage, Mr. Jadhav was accused of carrying out subversive activities.
India has called upon Pakistan to organise a visit of the Joint Judicial Committee to deal with the issues related to the prisoners that both countries continue to hold.