Pakistani prisoner, 80, moves closer to release

August 5th, 2011 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj Patil Jaipur, Aug 5 (IANS) The mercy plea of Mohammad Khalil Chishty, an 80-year-old Pakistani citizen serving life sentence in the Ajmer Central Jail, has been given clearance by the Rajasthan home department, sources in the department said Friday.

“The home department has cleared the file and forwarded it to the chief minister’s office. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot will now give a final recommendation to Governor Shivraj Patil who will take a final call on the issue,” a source in the home department told IANS.

Chishty, a virologist at the Karachi Medical College, 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 Chisty when the incident happened.

He was awarded life imprisonment in January this year after an 18-year long trial. He moved the Rajasthan High Court against the lower court’s verdict, but his bail application was turned down.

Supreme Court Justice Markandeya Katju in June requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to release Chishty on “humanitarian grounds”.

Acting on Katju’s appeal, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot approved the mercy plea of Chishty and sent it to Governor Shivraj Patil for the final clearance.

Patil last month sent a questionnaire to the law department on various issues related to the case. The law department in its report said that Chishty can be freed if his release is considered on humanitarian grounds, and forwarded it to the home department for its opinion.

The file was then forwarded to state Home Minister Shani Dhariwal for final clearance.

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