Free Chisty on humanitarian grounds: Family urges

The family of Khalil Chisty, the Pakistani virologist serving life imprisonment in the Ajmer Jail, has appealed to the Indian government to release him on "humanitarian grounds".

Last Updated: Nov 28, 2011, 12:10 PM IST

New Delhi: The family of Khalil Chisty, the
Pakistani virologist serving life imprisonment in the Ajmer
Jail, has appealed to the Indian government to release him on
"humanitarian grounds".

"We have appealed to the Indian government to release him
on humanitarian grounds as he has already been punished for 19
years and there was no point in sentencing him for life after
such a long trial," says daughter Shoa Jawaid.

"He is almost 80 years old, and for 20 years he has been
separated from his family.... How long will he continue to
suffer," Shoa said.

"Hope is the only thing we have, we can never lose that
as long as we are alive," she said while wiping away tears
from eyes.

Chisty`s wife blamed judicial process for the suffering
of her husband.

"Does it take so much to convict a person. We haven`t
seen or heard anything like this before, 19 years and still
waiting," 65-year-old Begum Mehrunissa said.

Mehrunissa, who has lost her capacity to hear, is here
with her daughter Shoa and grandson Syed Aki Ghalib Chisty.

The family is here on a one-month visa and running from
pillar to post seeking Chisty`s release.

His 23-year-old grandson Chisty recalled his emotional
reunion with his grandfather in a jail hospital on Thursday.

"He is very weak and can`t even walk. At this age he
needs our support and care.

"India in any case has to send my grandfather dead or
alive someday so why not send him back alive? This goodwill
gesture will only improve the relations between the two
countries," he said.

Chisty was sentenced for life in a murder case by a
sessions court in Rajasthan in 2010. An appeal was filed in
the High Court but his bail plea was rejected.

Press Council chief and former Supreme Court judge
Markandey Katju had recently sought the intervention of
Congress president Sonia Gandhi for Chisty`s release.

Katju had earlier shot off a letter to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh in April, requesting him to grant a pardon
under Article 72 of the Constitution to Chisty.

PTI