ISLAMABAD • A lovestruck Indian man who spent years in jail for spying after travelling to meet a woman in Pakistan was set to return home yesterday.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Mr Hamid Nehal Ansari illegally crossed into the country from Afghanistan in 2012, and was convicted for spying and forging documents in 2015.
He told the court he came to Pakistan to see a girl he had befriended on Facebook in the country’s north, his lawyer Qazi Muhammad Anwar said.
But police were waiting for him at the woman’s house and arrested him on the spot, Mr Anwar said yesterday.
“Ansari has been released from the prison today... and is right now in Lahore (waiting) to cross the border in to India,” Mr Anwar added.
A Pakistani official said Mr Ansari was expected to return to India through an overland border crossing near Lahore yesterday afternoon. The 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.