Islamabad: The family of 80-year-old Pakistani national Khalil Chishti, currently being held in a jail in Rajasthan, on Monday expressed joy at the Indian Supreme Court's order for his release on bail. (Agenies)
Chishti's emotional daughter Shoha told the media that she had seen the news of her father being granted bail on TV. "We are all very happy. I came home and informed my mother, who offered special prayers of thanksgiving," she said.
His release on bail was "due to God" and efforts by countless Pakistanis and Indians, she said. Chishti was serving life term in an Ajmer jail in a murder case of 1992. The family had last met Chishti when it had travelled to Rajasthan in December last year, she added. She said she and her sister Aamna had written to President Asif Ali Zardari on April 5, before he embarked on a private visit to India, to take up the case of their father with the Indian leadership.
Leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney too welcomed the Indian Supreme Court's decision and said his NGO would now speed up efforts to try and bring Chishti back to Pakistan.
"On Wednesday, I will go to India to move a new application in the Supreme Court seeking permission for Chishti to come to Pakistan. My trust is ready to give all assurances regarding Chishti so that he can come to Pakistan and spend his remaining days with his family," Burney said.
Chishti's release on humanitarian grounds would help boost the peace process between India and Pakistan, he said. India's Supreme Court has also agreed to hear Chishti's plea to return to Pakistan and asked his lawyers to file a separate petition in this regard.
Chishti has been ailing and is unable to walk without help. At the time of the incident, 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. Several others convicted in the same case were granted bail.
Born in Ajmer in a prosperous family of 'khadims,' Chishti was studying in Pakistan at the time of Independence and chose to stay on there and become its citizen. Following his arrest for his alleged role in the 1992 murder case in Ajmer, the sessions court had granted him bail a few days later but had ordered him not to leave the city.
Chishti, who suffers from various ailments, including those of heart and hearing, had lived in his brother's poultry farm till his conviction. Chishti's case came to light when Justice Markandeya Katju, the then Supreme Court judge, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging that the Pakistani national be pardoned on humanitarian grounds.
Chishti, who was an eminent professor of virology in Karachi Medical College, holds a PhD from Edinburgh University.
Islamabad: The family of 80-year-old Pakistani national Khalil Chishti, currently being held in a jail in Rajasthan, on Monday expressed joy at the Indian Supreme Court's order for his release on bail.