External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj met the family of Indian prisoner Hamid Nehal Ansari, who is in Pakistan’s custody, and assured them of all possible help. Official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the matter of his security has been taken up again with Pakistani authorities, specifically in the light of reports that he was attacked again in the prison in which he is stuck.
“We have reminded the government of Pakistan of its responsibility to ensure his security. 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, who was jailed for possessing a fake ID and illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan, was attacked at least thrice by inmates in Peshawar jail. His family had been pleading the government to take some action.
Ansari’s parents, who met Swaraj at her office inside Parliament House complex, expressed trust that the government will find some ways to bring back their son safely. “We have full trust in the government, more so in Sushma ji. We have been given assurance,” said Hamid Ansari’s mother. The parents said they had applied for a visa to the Pakistan high commission to visit their son in jail. But there was no response from the commission.
Swaraj last week had directed the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to seek consular access to Ansari.
A leader of Bharatiya Janata Party, Sushma Swaraj is the second woman to be India’s Minister of External Affairs, after Indira Gandhi. She has been elected seven times as a Member of Parliament and three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.