India seeks Indian national’s release from Pakistani jail

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) The government on Thursday said that it has asked the Pakistan government to release an Indian national, Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is lodged in a Pakistani jail where he was beaten up, as his sentencing period is over .

“We have reminded the government of Pakistan of its responsibility to ensure his security,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here.

“We have also conveyed that, according to our understanding, since his sentence of three years is already over he should be released and repatriated to India at the earliest,” he said.

Ansari was attacked twice in the Peshawar Central Prison in the last two months, Dawn online quoted his lawyer as telling a court on August 4. The lawyer said a jail official also daily thrashed Ansari.

Jail Superintendent Masoodur Rehman, however, argued that the injuries were of minor nature and that such incidents “kept happening” in prisons.

Ansari is kept in a death cell. Superintendent Rehman said in his statement in the court that the Indian “can’t be kept in a normal barrack with other prisoners for the sake of his security”.

Ansari’s lawyer said he wanted security for his client but the jail official had refused to give such a guarantee.

The official had promised to shift Ansari to a hospital after the attack but did not do so. The lawyer also alleged that a prison warder used to beat Ansari daily.

Ansari, who reportedly possessed a fake Pakistani identity card, was arrested by intelligence agencies in Kohat district in November 2012. He was convicted by a military court in February this year.

Swarup said on Thursday that on August 5, India again strongly took up the matter of the security of Ansari while he was in the custody of Pakistani authorities.

“This was done specifically in the light of reports that he was attacked again in prison in which he is lodged,” he said.

The spokesperson also said that the External Affairs Ministry was in touch with Ansari’s family.

“As we speak, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is meeting his family in Parliament House,” he said.

–IANS

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