ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday announced repatriation of an Indian citizen Hamid Nehal Ansari, after his three-year sentence for espionage and other crimes ended on Saturday.

Mr Ansari’s repatriation was announced by Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal. He tweeted: “Hamid Nehal Ansari, an Indian spy who had illegally entered Pakistan and was involved in anti-state crimes and forging documents, is being released upon completion of his sentence and is being repatriated to India.”

Mr Ansari, 33, was taken into custody by the police and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials in Kohat in November 2012 and was later court-martialled by a military tribunal. He was convicted and sentenced to three years in jail in December 2015. He was lodged in the Peshawar central jail.

The Peshawar High Court last week directed the interior ministry to ensure his deportation within a month of completion of his sentence.

Earlier reports said Mr Ansari had during the course of his trial confessed to illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan for espionage and maintaining multiple Facebook and email accounts. Sensitive documents were seized from his possession.

Mr Ansari’s family claimed he entered Pakistan through Afghanistan for meeting a girl he had befriended online.

He had initially gone missing from Kohat in 2012. Three years later, the defence ministry — in response to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother Fauzia Ansari — acknowledged that he was in custody and was being court-martialled.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2018