Indian spy Hamid Nehal Ansari crosses Wagah border after repatriation from Pakistan

Updated December 18, 2018

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Indian convicted spy Hamid Nehal Ansari at the airport after his release. — Photo provided by author
Indian convicted spy Hamid Nehal Ansari at the airport after his release. — Photo provided by author

Indian citizen Hamid Nehal Ansari, who served a three-year sentence for espionage in Pakistan, crossed over to the Indian side of the Wagah-Attari border on Tuesday, a day after Islamabad announced his release.

The convicted spy was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border after being taken to Lahore from Mardan jail. He crossed over to the Attari side at around 5pm PST, Hindustan Times reported.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal had earlier today announced that Ansari would be sent back to India today via the Wagah border.

A file photo of Hamid Nehal Ansari.
A file photo of Hamid Nehal Ansari.

According to jail officials in Mardan, Ansari was transported to Lahore from Mardan jail amid tight security. His lawyer Qazi Anwar also confirmed the release of the Indian national.

"I talked to the superintendent of Mardan jail and he informed me that Ansari was released at 7:25am from the jail and shifted to Lahore in high security," Anwar told DawnNewsTV.

The spy's family had reached the Attari border to receive him.

The FO spokesperson had announced Ansari's repatriation on Monday. The Indian national completed his three-year sentence for espionage and other crimes on Saturday.

Ansari 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 and later shifted to the Mardan prison.

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

Earlier reports said 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.

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 — acknowledged that he was in custody and was being court-martialled.