This real life Veer Zaara has a 95 year old Pakistani lawyer defending an Indian convicted of espionage
It is said that movies are inspired from real life, but in some special instances, real life is inspired from movies, albeit with a few intriguing twists and turns. Two warring nations, a love story, an unlawful arrest and a couple of good Samaritans – this real life story is the stuff Bollywood melodramas are made of. Exactly an year before the case of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav convicted in Pakistan came under international lens, another Indian was tried and convicted by the Pakistani military court. Hamid Ansari of Mumbai was, for the first time, convicted for espionage. An appeal for consular access, just as, in the case of Jadhav, was filed at the International Court of Justice. Although the ICJ had announced provisions to put Ansari’s execution in hold, he continues to languish in a Peshawar prison.
Ansari was trapped in this quagmire in the name of love. Months before he disappeared, he had met a Pashtun girl over internet. The girl belonged to the conservative Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan. They both fell in love but the girl soon informed Hamid that his father would marry her off to another boy. In order to win over his love, he sought to take the help of locals and planned on crossing into Pakistan through the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border. He left for Afghanisthan on November 4, 2012.
Fourteen months after this fateful day, Hamid’s family in Andheri, Mumbai came to know that he is in the custody of the Pakistani military. A Pakistani journalist informed the family that their son had illegally crossed the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and within hours of checking into a Pakistan hotel, he was picked up by the police and handed over to the military. After this good Samaritan, another one came into play. A 95 year old Pakistani lawyer who filed a habeas-corpus petition on behalf of the family which bore fruit and the family knew that their son was alive, in a Peshawar prison, after nearly 3 years of his disappearance. He was convicted by the Pakistani military of being an Indian spy.
Fauzia Ansari, Hamid’s mother acknowledges his son’s blunder of crossing into the country’s border without legitimate papers, but he has served his sentence, already. The uncertainty of life haunts more than the certainty of death. She had to wait three years before knowing that her son was alive. She has come to know through her lawyer, that Hamid was attacked by fellow inmates on three occasions amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
The 95 year old lawyer has not charged a rupee from the Indian family because he thinks that it is the right thing to do. The mother yearns for her son, she expects the neighboring country to let him off, after all, he has already served his sentence. It is to be seen what happens to this son of Indian soil, but this tale is an endearing portrayal of longing, love and humanity. We will pray for Hamid’s return to his homeland.