Karachi: Pakistan`s ailing virologist Khalil Chishti on Wednesday reunited with his family after nearly two decades amidst moving and tearful scenes at the Karachi airport where hundreds of people gathered to welcome him.
Chishti, who spent 20 long years away from home in Indian jail on charge of involvement in a murder, was brought out of the Jinnah international airport in a wheelchair, looking frail and weak but with his spirits high.
"I am going straight to my residence where the first thing I want to do is play with my grandchildren," Chishti, who was wearing a Jinnah cap, told reporters at the airport.
"It is a dream come true for me to meet with my wife, my children and relatives again and I am thankful to the Pakistan and Indian governments for giving me this fresh lease of life," 82-year-old Chishti said.
Wiping tears, Chishti`s daughter Tariqa said her father was a tired man and would be taken straight to his residence in North Nazimabad which had been lighted up to celebrate his return to Karachi.
"It is hard to describe our feelings right now. He has comeback home after 20 years. It is a moment my mother and my sisters and brother have dreamt for years now as it has been a long fight for us," she said.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the airport to greet Chishti who was garlanded and showered with rose petals as he was brought out of the terminal where he was received by Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri and Mutthaida Qaumi Movement senator Nasreen Jalil and MNA Babar Ghouri.
Chishti returned to Pakistan last night on a special flight sent to bring him home by President Asif Ali Zardari. He landed in Islamabad.
After arriving in Pakistan, Chishti embroiled himself in a controversy following which he issued a statement in Islamabad to clarify it.
Chishti used to teach at the University of Karachi before he went to Ajmer in 1992 and was convicted in a murder case there spending 20 years in jail. He was allowed by the Indian Supreme Court to return home on humanitarian grounds last week.
The fresh controversy broke out after a Hindi news channel showed him passing unbecoming comments about the Indian judiciary during a conversation.
Following his comments, a lawyer of Ajmer, Devendra Singh Chauhan, filed a petition on Monday in a fast track court accusing Chishti of scandalizing Indian judiciary.
The court will hear the petition on May 28 to decide if the case is admissible.
Chishti was critical of the India`s lower judiciary, which he alleged, could not decide his case in 20 years.
To down play the controversy, Chishti released a statement in Islamabad in which he apologized for his comments and that he had high regard for the Indian judiciary and that he had no intentions to demean the Indian judicial system.
"I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all those concerned over some remarks that were made by me during an interview after my release from prison. I wish to clarify that I did not mean to be disrespectful to the Indian Judiciary. I am a law abiding man with utmost respect for Judiciary. If my remarks hurt anyone, please accept my deepest apology," Chishti said in the statement.