Pakistani prison ‘contamination’ haunts Versova man; hurts jobs and future prospects | Bombay News

The six years he spent in a Pakistani prison, most of it in solitary confinement punctuated by hours of torture and interrogations, continue to cost Hamid Ansari dearly. His ‘crime’ was falling in love with Fiza, a Kohat girl from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, and going there to save her when she was married to a man of her grandfather’s age. . He spent six years in prison before being released and returning home on December 18, 2018.
Hamid has closed that chapter, moved on, and now wants to settle down, but the episode drags him down so much that despite being a computer engineer, dual MBA, and now even a sophomore in law, it’s his difficult to stay in a stable job. Over the past three years, he has landed several jobs, but was fired shortly after his employers learned of his time in a Pakistani prison.
“There is no case pending against me. The Pakistani authorities cleared me of espionage charges and the late Sushma Swaraj ji, then Minister of External Affairs, gave clearance before I received my new passport thanks to which I performed Umrah with my parents,” says Hamid. , 36, sitting in his parents’ modest apartment in Versova.
His father Nehal Ahmed Ansari retired VRS from his job in the bank while his mother Fauzia Ansari is a retired university professor. “My husband and I are retired and we won’t always be here. We want him to settle down with a good job and a marriage,” says Fauzia, adding that most parents of suitable girls ask: ‘karta kya hai ? (What is he doing?)
Veteran journalist and human rights activist Jatin Desai – who stood like a rock behind the Ansari during their trials – says Hamid deserves to be rehabilitated. “If you look at him dispassionately, Hamid suffered so much in Pakistani jail because he was an Indian. He went there to save a girl whose brother had killed a neighbor. And according to tribal custom, Vani, the daughter was to be married to the victim’s grandfather as part of the blood money. Hamid was never able to meet the daughter, was cheated by a local Pakistani journalist and he fell into the hands of the Pakistani authorities who accused him of espionage,” Desai explains. “It is the duty of the government and also the responsibility of society to ensure that a highly educated young man like him finds gainful employment.”
Since returning to India on December 18, 2018 through the Wagah border, Hamid has performed Umrah with his parents – his mother had sworn to him during the days when she struggled to locate him and prayed for reunion with her son. He landed a job teaching at a college in the city, but his services ended within weeks. He got a job in a company that works on the public-private partnership (PPP) model on a one-year contract. “After working there for 22 days, the contractor asked me to leave. He said it was management’s decision,” Hamid said.
Her father, a former banker, says banks won’t give her a loan. “Without a regular source of income and the ability to repay, no bank will accept his loan request,” worries the father of the family.
Meanwhile, Hamid has co-authored a book detailing his story, with writer Geeta Mohan.
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