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May 18, 2018

PHC seeks KP govt reply in case of Indian prisoner


May 18, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday sought reply from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and the Prisons Department in the case of an Indian prisoner who filed an application for shifting him to the Peshawar Central Prison as he was facing life threats at the Mardan Central Prison.

Hamid Nehal Ansari, the Indian national who was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a military court in 2016 for anti-state activities, filed the application through his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar. He claimed militants being held at the Mardan Central Prison were hurling life threats at him.

A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Syed Afsar Shah issued notice and sought reply from the government till May 31 when the next hearing in the case would be held.

During hearing, Qazi Anwar submitted before the bench that the Indian prisoner due for release from jail in December 2018 after completion of the sentence feared he could be attacked by militants jailed in Mardan prison.

He requested the court to issue an order to the government and the Prison Department to shift him to Peshawar Central Prison.

The bench also directed the government in another application of the prisoner to submit reply as why he was kept in the solitary cell in the prison.

Qazi Anwar contended that the Indian prisoner was being unjustly kept in the death cell at the jail. He said the Prison Department should provide him better environment in the jail.

Earlier, the Indian prisoner had suffered injuries after he was attacked twice by inmates in the Peshawar Central Prison. This was confirmed by the superintendent of the prison who insisted that the injuries were of minor nature. He added that such incidents happen in prisons.

The Indian prisoner’s case was also pending before the high court seeking remissions in his jail term. His lawyer told The News that Hamid Nihal Ansari would be freed in June 2018 if he got remissions. Otherwise, he added that his jail term would be completed in December 2018.

The petitioner had gone missing after he was taken into custody by the intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat district in November 2012. Finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed on January 13 that he was in custody of the army and was being tried by a military court.

In February 2016, it surfaced that the petitioner was convicted by a military court, awarded three years imprisonment and shifted to Peshawar Central Prison.

Hamid Nihal Ansari is a 31-years old MBA degree holder and was a teacher at the Mumbai Management College.

In his petition, he stated that he had left India for Afghanistan on November 4, 2012 on a valid tourist visa. He said he came from Jalalabad to Peshawar on November 12, 2012, entering Pakistan with a fake identity card in the name of Hamza sent to him by his Facebook friend from Karak, with whom he stayed for two days.

He said that on November 14, 2012 his friend left him at a hotel in Kohat following which he was arrested.

Hamid Nihal Ansari was shifted to Peshawar Central Prison in February 2016 and later moved to the high-security jail in Mardan.