India must let Chisty, Pakistani fishermen return: Activists

April 13th, 2012 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, April 13 (IANS) A group of activists working to improve India-Pakistan relations Friday appealed to the Indian government to let Pakistani doctor Mohammad Khalil Chisty return home and release many fishermen held in India.

The group welcomed the decision of the Pakistani government to release 26 Indian fishermen, including a cancer patient, from a jail in Karachi on humanitarian grounds and asked India to reciprocate the gesture.

“Sending Dr. Khalil Chisty and Pakistani fishermen back home will be a major confidence building measure. It will help in creating a conducive atmosphere in taking forward the peace process,” said Jatin Desai, a member of the group.

The Supreme Court had Monday granted bail to Chisty, who is undergoing life imprisonment in a jail in Ajmer for involvement in a clash that resulted in the death of a person.

Chisty, 80, was a virologist at the Karachi Medical College. He is accused of killing a man during a brawl in April 1992 in Ajmer. He was in the city to offer prayers at the famous dargah (shrine) of Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti when the incident happened.

He is currently staying at his brother’s house in Ajmer.

The activist group also appealed to both the governments to release and return all confiscated boats of fishermen.

“These boats are owned by the fishermen and it is the only source of income for them. Their livelihood depends on the boats. Around 700 Indian confiscated boats are lying in and around Karachi and more than 150 Pakistani boats are lying in India,” Desai said.

The group of activists consists of journalists, lawyers, actors and filmmakers from across India.

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