Mumbai couple hopes for release of son from Pakistan Army custody

Mumbai couple hopes for release of son from Pakistan Army custody

Parents of a city-based engineer, who went missing in Pakistan in 2012, on Saturday said they hope that the Indian Government will secure the release of their son who is in Pakistan Army custody and facing a trial in military courts in the neighbouring country.

Nehal Hamid Ansari went to Pakistan via Afghanistan to meet a girl he had befriended on the Internet and had been untraceable since then. His mother Fauzia and father Hamid Ansari said they lost touch with him during his stay in Afghanistan in late 2012.

Fauzia, 56, said they got information yesterday, through her lawyer in Pakistan, that her son has been in Army custody. “Though our son is missing since the last three years, it was only yesterday that we got to know he has been held by the military in Pakistan,” she told PTI today.

She said the Central Government is in touch with them and they are hoping Nehal will return home soon. According to reports in Pakistan media, Defence authorities have told the Peshawar High Court that Nehal was being held by the Army and would be tried by a military court.

However, they did not provide details what charges had been brought against the 30-year-old Indian. Nehal was 27 when he left his Versova home on November 5, 2012. Fauzia said Nehal, while leaving, had said he was heading to Afghanistan to explore job prospects.

“My son is not a military officer, then why he is in Army’s custody and facing trial by military courts?” she sought to know and expressed shock over the development. “We had last spoken to Nehal on November 10, 2012. He told us he would return to India very soon. When his phone went out of reach, a missing complaint was lodged at the Versova Police Station,” Fauzia, a schoolteacher, added.

She filed a habeas corpus petition through a Pakistani journalist in April 2014 after reports emerged he had crossed over to that country. “The journalist is missing since August last year,” she said. According to media reports, Nehal had befriended a Kohat-based woman in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province through social media and crossed over into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

A family member said Nehal was in touch with many people in Pakistan through Internet, including a girl who was a victim of some circumstances. He went to Pakistan to help her out, he said. Meanwhile, an official of Versova Police Station confirmed that a missing complaint was filed by Nehal’s family in 2012.