Islamabad: Ailing virologist Khalil Chishti, detained in Rajasthan for nearly two decades on charges of involvement in a murder, on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan after being given special permission by India's Supreme Court to return home to meet his family.
   
The 82-year-old Chishti flew from New Delhi to Islamabad in a special aircraft sent by President Asif Ali Zardari.
   
He was received at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who presented him a wreath.
   
A large crowd, including workers of the Pakistan People’s Party, showered petals on Chishti as he emerged from the airport in a wheelchair. Footage aired on TV news channels showed Chishti’s home in the southern port city of Karachi had been decorated by his family to welcome him.
   
His wife and daughters stood on a balcony and waved to a large gathering that had gathered outside the house. Earlier in the day, diplomatic sources said that
Pakistani authorities had obtained permission for the special aircraft to go to Delhi to bring back Chishti.
   
The virologist will have to hand over his passport to the Indian High Commission as part of conditions set by the Indian Supreme Court for his return. On May 10, India's Supreme Court allowed Chishti to visit Pakistan before his appeal against his conviction in the murder case is taken up.
   
Chishti, a resident of Karachi, has been ailing and is unable to walk without help. He is accused of involvement in the murder of a man during a brawl in Ajmer in April 1992.

At the time, Chishti was visiting India to meet relatives and to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. In January last year, Chishti was given life imprisonment after an 18-year trial.
   
After the sentencing, he was detained in Ajmer Jail. India’s Supreme Court ordered Chishti’s release on bail a month ago. In a personal letter sent to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month, President Asif Ali Zardari asked for Chishti to be released and repatriated on humanitarian grounds.
   
Zardari had also taken up the issue of Chishti with Singh during a day-long private visit to India on April 8.

(Agencies)

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