Posted by M Zafar Iqbal
The Muslim Times Editor of Pakistan
80-year-old microbiologist also thanks President Zardari for his efforts. PHOTO: FILE
As the sun went down on Ajmer, Dr Khalil Chishty walked off into the sunset on Wednesday a free man, nearly two decades after a murder case was lodged against him.
To be absolutely accurate, the 80-year-old wizened Pakistani microbiologist who is unable to walk on his own, was carried free, having broken his hip while serving a life term after his conviction in a murder case January last year.
“I am happy to be out of the jail. I believe in God and thank him. My wish is to see my family members in Pakistan as soon as possible,” Chishty said upon stepping out of Ajmer central jail, adding that he would also like to thank President Asif Ali Zardari for making efforts for his release.
The court granted bail “taking note of his age and also considering that he was in Ajmer for the last 20 years … without expressing anything on the merits of the case.”
Today after fulfilling surety and bail bonds, Chishty was sent home when a certified copy of the Supreme Court’s order was lodged with the Ajmer jail.
As for the professor’s eventual return to Pakistan, a sympathetic Supreme Court said: “You file (such a petition)… and we would consider.”
Dr Chishty’s travails were discussed during the luncheon between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s in New Delhi while Interior Minister Rehman Malik had also raised the issue with Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram, who told him the case was in the courts.
The Indian-born Chishty, who taught virology at Karachi Medical College, was visiting his mother in Ajmer in 1992 when he got embroiled into a family feud that led to one his neighbours being shot dead. He has been in Ajmer since, living at his ancestral home during the 18-year trial before being jailed following his conviction in January last year.
‘Happy but not over the moon’
Chishty is “happy but not over the moon,” his jailor Mathur said.
“Perhaps it hasn’t sunk in. Like always, he was quiet and calm and spent the day reading.”