Indian lover sentenced in Pakistan for espionage

Islamabad, Feb 16 (IANS) Indian national Hamid Nehal Ansari, who went missing after illegally entering Pakistan over three years ago to meet his Pakistani girlfriend, has been jailed for three years for espionage.

A military court passed the sentence over the weekend in Kohat city in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. He has been shifted to the Peshawar Central Prison and has a right to appeal, Dawn reported on Tuesday.

The convict, 31 and a teacher at a Mumbai management college, reportedly confessed to illegally entering Pakistan from Afgha­nistan for espionage.

Dawn quoted unnamed officials as saying that Ansari had seven Facebook accounts as well as around 30 email IDs. He was reportedly found to be in possession of “sensitive documents”.

Last month, the Pakistan defence ministry informed the Peshawar High Court that Ansari was in army custody and would face court martial.

After that, a two-member bench on January 13 disposed off a habeas corpus petition filed by Fauzia Ansari, the Indian’s mother, against his alleged illegal detention.

Ansari was arrested in Kohat in November 2012. Until last month, his whereabouts remained unknown.

Ansari’s mother claimed he was in touch with some Pakistani friends who had suggested to him to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan without visa.

She claimed he had become friends with a Pakistani woman through social media and went to Pakistan to meet her.

Ansari’s lawyer earlier sent an application to the Pakistan Supreme Court’s Human Rights Cell, which forwarded the case to the Commi­ssion of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances.

The Commission had on April 10, 2014 directed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Home Department to set up a joint investigation team to trace Ansari.

It also told the police to register an FIR about his disappearance.

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