Parents’ effort to secure release of son in Pak jail hits hurdle

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Amritsar: An elderly Mumbai-based couple's fight to secure the release of their son lodged in a Pakistani prison, despite completing his jail term, hit a roadblock after they failed to meet Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz.

They have been camping in this holy city bordering Pakistan, where Mr Aziz participated in the ministerial deliberations of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.

“We were keen to meet Sartaj Aziz. But the tight security in place did not allow us to have an audience with him. Now we are in the Golden Temple praying for justice to our son who is lodged in a Peshawar jail,” said Fauzia Ansari, the mother of 32-year-old Hamid Ansari.

“All our efforts to meet Sartaj went futile,” she lamented.

Over 40 foreign ministers and dignitaries of 14 participating countries attended the conference that also saw the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

Hamid, an IT engineer and an MBA degree holder, had gone to Kabul on November 4, 2012 from where he wanted to reach Pakistan, allegedly to meet a Pakistani girl he had been in touch with over e-mail.

There were no reports of his whereabouts after November 10.

The deputy attorney general of Pakistan had informed the court that Hamid was in the custody of Pakistani army and had been awarded three years’ imprisonment.

Fauzia and Nehal, who have two children, including Hamid, said he was sentenced to three years in prison and his term ended a year ago.

The elderly couple had been carrying placards to display outside the venue of two-day Heart of Asia conference.

Fauzia said she had earlier sent a letter to Mr Aziz seeking an appointment to request for Hamid’s release but in the absence of any reply from his office, she had no option but to stand near the venue of the conference with the placards.

She had filed a writ petition in the Peshawar High Court seeking release of her son after the completion of his jail term.

The petition was dismissed as the court had observed that the army would decide on his release since he was in its custody.

 

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