Katju appeals to Sonia for release of Pak prisoner
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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 Gandhi.

"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 Gandhi.

"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.

PTI


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


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