Attack on Indian prisoner in Pakistani jail: India reiterates request for consular access

Hamid Nehal Ansari, who reportedly possessed a fake Pakistani identity card, was arrested by intelligence agencies in Kohat district in November 2012. 

New Delhi/Islamabad: Following reports of repeated attacks on an Indian prisoner lodged in a Pakistani jail, the government on Friday said it has reiterated its request to the Pakistan government for consular access to the victim.

Hamid Nehal Ansari was attacked twice in the Peshawar Central Prison in the last two months, Dawn online quoted his lawyer as telling a court on Thursday. The lawyer said a jail official also daily thrashed Ansari.

Jail Superintendent Masoodur Rehman, however, argued that the injuries were of minor nature and that such incidents "kept happening" in prisons.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing in New Delhi that a petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court earlier following earlier reports that Hamid Ansari was attacked in prison.

"Through our high commission in Islamabad, the government has also raised the matter of Ansari`s well being and his early release," he stated.

"We have also reiterated our earlier stand and request for consular access and ask the government of Pakistan to allow him to speak to his family."

Ansari, serving a three-year term, is kept in a death cell. Superintendent Rehman said in his statement in the court that the Indian "can`t be kept in a normal barrack with other prisoners for the sake of his security".

Ansari`s lawyer said he wanted security for his client but the jail official had refused to give such a guarantee.

The official had promised to shift Ansari to a hospital after the attack but did not do so. The lawyer also alleged that a prison warder used to beat Ansari daily.

Ansari, who reportedly possessed a fake Pakistani identity card, was arrested by intelligence agencies in Kohat district in November 2012. He was convicted by a military court in February this year.