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Sena leader’s effort made Ansari’s return a reality

Political opponents may project Shiv Sena and BJP as anti-Muslim parties but the Mumbai engineer Hamid Ansari’s home return after six years in Pakistan jail wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, BJP leader Krishna Hegde, and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. It was an emotional reunion for Hamid Nihal Ansari and his family at the Attari-Wagah border on Tuesday, whose long struggle ended and eventually all the efforts bore fruit.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asserted, “It is a matter of great relief, especially for the family members; that six years of imprisonment of the Indian civilian in the Pakistan jail has come to an end.” He further stated, “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 the Pakistan jails.”

After spending six years in Pakistan jail on espionage charges, Hamid Nihal Ansari reached India. Ansari’s father Nihal, mother Fauzia, and his other family members were present at the border to welcome him. To make this possible, Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar helped his parents with all sorts of communication work by approaching the central ministry. In 2014, two consecutive letters were sent from Kirtikar’s office. The first letter was sent on June 9, 2014, for the appeal to search Ansari, while on August 23, the second letter expressed gratitude towards the External Ministry for their response and the efforts they put in the matter. Later, again after Ansari’s parents approached Kirtikar, he on June 10, 2015, requested the External Ministry and the Government of India to shower some mercy on them.

In a conversation with AV, Gajanan Kirtikar stated, “When we came to know that he is in Pakistan jail after being wrongfully detained, I made efforts to convince the Pakistan officials. In the meanwhile, his parents were going to many politicians and they approached me, I wrote to the President of India. Jatin Desai took all the credits but people like me had no mention. I still feel whatever has happened was due to his mistake but his intentions were not wrong. There are many Pakistani youths who come to India by mistake and get arrested. When such issues come to us, I evaluate these issues beyond religion and purely on humanitarian grounds.”

Ansari’s mother called her son’s release “a victory of humanity” and by backing him, she said that he had no “bad intentions”. According to the media reports, 33-year-old Ansari was imprisoned for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card. He was lodged in the Peshawar Central Jail after being sentenced by the military court on December 15, 2015.

Mother of Hamid, Fauzia Ansari told AV, “My son went with self-sacrificing aims. Hamid had no wicked intentions, but primarily went missing and was later caught and jailed. He shouldn’t have gone without a visa. His release is a victory for humanity.” While the Father of Hamid, Nihal Hamid Ansari mentioned, “I am very happy that my son has come back to India. Well-wishers from both India and Pakistan helped us a lot and especially Gajanan Kirtikar. He never discouraged any of our requests and helped us throughout.”

BJP leader Krishna Hegde, by adding emotions to the mother’s stand told us, “It’s a happy moment that Hamid Ansari met his parents who have worked very hard for their son’s release. He further thanked Sushma Swaraj and the concerned officials from India and Pakistan for rendering their support. A special mention must also be made for his lawyers, media, and NGOs who have supported his parents for the past years of struggle.”

Hamid Nihal Ansari, 33, who is an IT Engineer, MBA, was arrested for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan, reportedly to meet a girl he met online. In 2015, a military court sentenced him to three years in prison for possessing a fake Pakistani ID card. In the first letter to the External Ministry, it was mentioned by Ansari’s parents that Hamid was in a habit of chatting with some friends in Pakistan for some time, and he also often visited Afghanistan for professional reasons.

A retired police officer on the condition of anonymity spoke to AV on the Hamid Ansari’s saga, he exclaimed, “When Indians make repetitive calls to Pakistan, Bangladesh or any such conservative places, the Police keep vigilance on the calls made especially by the Muslims. If repeated calls are being made, the particular service provider helps and notifies the Police. However, Hamid Ansari’s case exposes the negligence in the security level by the police and the service providers. For two years, when Hamid was constantly involved in texting or calling the Pakistani girl, why the service provider did not inform the government for the same? If the service providers had warned earlier, then this arrest could have been avoided. If there was a genuine love story, the government would have intervened and brought some legal solution to go there. The desperation of this man might indicate many things and security lapses.”

Hamid Ansari’s jail term ended last week. But he wasn’t able to leave for India as his legal documents weren’t ready. On Thursday, the Peshawar High Court gave the federal government a month to complete his repatriation process. He crossed over to India on the basis of emergency travel certificate issued by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Nonetheless, many speculations have been raised over the warranted mercy towards Hamid by Pakistan.

On the condition of anonymity, an ex-army man expressed, “Hamid being a well-educated person wouldn’t be ignorant of the repercussions of going to Pakistan without any Visa or legal documents. Anyway, Pakistan is known for their resistance to releasing illegal immigrants from India; this guy’s release is an exceptional case in these years. There is a need for quarantine to Ansari and should be asked that on what special grounds Pakistan has shown mercy in his case and what were Ansari’s reasons to visit Pakistan!”

Suresh Kumar, a localite said, “Ansari was tech savvy. He managed to handle several fake accounts and email ids. When he was on virtual media with many fake identities, he was capable to manipulate to meet his targets. Hence, it brings on the suspicion that how he would keep his social networking sites open and easily accessible to anyone. As his parents said that they accessed his social media. However, the police must investigate this matter without taking it gently.”


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