Love-struck Indian man jailed in Pakistan to return home

Family members of Hamid Ansari speak to the media ahead of the deportation of Hamid Ansari from Pakistan, in Amritsar, India on Dec 18,2018.
Family members of Hamid Ansari speak to the media ahead of the deportation of Hamid Ansari from Pakistan, in Amritsar, India on Dec 18,2018.PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - A love-struck Indian man who spent years in jail for spying after travelling to meet a woman in Pakistan will return home on Tuesday (Dec 18), the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.

Hamid Nehal Ansari illegally crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2012, and was convicted for spying and forging documents in 2015.

He told court officials that he came to the country to see a girl he befriended on Facebook in the country's north, his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar told AFP.

But police were waiting for him at the woman's house and arrested him on the spot, Anwar said.

"Ansari has been released from the prison today at 7.25am (0225 GMT) and is right now in Lahore (waiting) to cross the border in to India," Anwar added.

A Pakistani Foreign Ministry official said Ansari is expected to return to India through an overland border crossing near Lahore on Tuesday afternoon.

Indian authorities confirmed the release.

"It is a matter of great relief, especially for the family members, that six years of incarceration of the Indian civilian in Pakistan jail is coming to an end," the Indian Foreign Ministry said.

Arch-rivals Pakistan and India have fought three major wars since independence from Britain in 1947. They routinely arrest each other's citizens on spying charges.