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Katju appeals to Sonia for release of Pak prisoner

Last Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 19:35

New Delhi: After making a plea to
authorities, Press Council Chief Markandey Katju has now
sought the intervention of Congress President Sonia Gandhi for
release of an elderly Pakistani professor, jailed for 19 years
in a murder case, on humanitarian grounds.

"I am making this appeal to you in the name of humanity
for release of Dr. Khalil Chishty, who is at present in the
Ajmer Central Jail, so that he can go back to his home and
family in Karachi, Pakistan," Katju has written in a letter to

"I had made an appeal to the Prime Minister Shri Manmohan
Singh in the month of April 2011 requesting him to grant a
pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution to Dr. Chishty,"
Katju said in the letter to the UPA Chairperson. The letter to
Singh was written when Katju was the Supreme Court judge.

Katju has further written that the Prime Minister
referred him to the Home Minister but to no avail.

Another letter to Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patil did
not receive a reply despite the fact that he (Katju) was a
sitting judge of the Supreme Court, Katju said.

"In these circumstances I make an appeal directly to you
as my appeal to the aforementioned three authorities have been
to no avail. I may mention that according to the decision of
the Supreme Court in Nanavati case, AIR 1961 SC, 112 a
pardon can be granted even if a case is pending," he told

"Dr. Khalil Chishty is an old man of about 80 years and
does not have very long to live. It would be a disgrace for
our country if he dies in jail. On the other hand, the
prestige of our country will go up if he is released
forthwith," Katju said, adding Chishty was suffering from
several ailments.

Katju in his letter also said the Pakistan Government had
earlier released an Indian following a similar appeal by him.

"The Pakistan Government honoured my appeal and released
Gopal Das who returned to India. I am sad that while the
Pakistan Government honoured my appeal, the Indian Government
has not done so," Katju said.

In the letter Katju has also written that Chishty’s aged
wife, daughter and grandson had met him in Delhi and wanted to
meet the UPA chairperson as well.


First Published: Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 19:35
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