Lahore: An Indian man who is serving a three-year sentence in Pakistan for illegally entering the country faces "threats" to his life in prison, Pakistan Human Rights Commission has said and asked the government to ensure his safety.
Hamid Nehal Ansari, 31, a Mumbai resident, was convicted in February in Kohat, a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
Ansari went missing in Pakistan in 2012 where he had allegedly gone to meet a girl he had befriended on the Internet, authorities last month admitted that he has been in army custody and facing a trial in military courts.
"The former, a young Indian engineer, illegally entered Pakistan because he wanted to help an internet friend, a young girl, and was arrested in 2012. The authorities denied any knowledge of him for a long time and eventually disclosed that he was tried by a military court and sentenced to three years' imprisonment," HRCP Secretary General I A Rehman said.
He said the Peshawar High Court is hearing his petition for the inclusion of the pre-trial period of detention in Ansari's imprisonment term, but now concern has been raised about "threats" to his life in prison.
"The government must ensure his safety and it will be proper to start preparing for Ansari's repatriation to India," he said.
According to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, 56 cases of enforced disappearances occurred in January this year, 66 in February, 44 in March, 99 in April, 91 in May, 60 in June and 94 in July. That is, 510 cases in the last seven months, or an average of 72.86 cases per month.
In reference to the report the commission said, "No review of disappearances can be complete without taking notice of the plight of Hamid Ansari..."
The Commission has said although many more instances of enforced disappearance are not reported, the number of cases received by the Commission is high enough for the government to abandon its complacency.
"The government of Pakistan should take a fresh look at the problem that has caused endless agony to thousands of families over the last many years," Rehman said, adding the government cannot pretend to be ignorant of the fact that enforced disappearances is still a major human rights issue in Pakistan and that a thorough reappraisal of the efforts to solve it is overdue.
The Commission has also decided some 480 cases this year. Of them 111 were dropped for not being enforced disappearances and 372 persons were traced - 189 persons said to have returned home on their own.
The Commission however does not tell where these people were during the period they could not be traced by their families.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had issued instructions for such people to be interviewed so that those responsible for their disappearance could be identified and punished....