Dr Chishty’s family continues to campaign for release

Monday, November 28th, 2011 4:30:07 by


The resolute family of octogenarian Dr Khaleel Chishty, imprisoned in India on charges of murder, has reached Delhi to plead for his release with everyone that they can meet.

Eleven months after he was convicted and jailed, his wife Begum Mehrunnisa, daughter Shoa Jawaid and grandson Ali Ghalib Chishty flew to India from Karachi to meet him in the hope that his (Dr Chishty’s) pardon – pending with Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patel – will be approved.

“My grandfather has missed out on a major part of his life … he has been away from his family for 19 years. Isn’t that punishment enough for a man who can only be accused of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?” says Ali Ghalib.

During a 30-minute meeting with his family on Thursday, Dr Chishty told them about his life in jail, puffing on a beeri instead of the cigars that he was used to. “You don’t know how I survive here,” he had told them.

But while Ali Ghalib acknowledges the support he has received from several sections in India, there seems to be little hope for his grandfather’s release.

“The only ray of hope for him [Dr Chishty] lies in Article 161 of the Constitution, which empowers the governor to grant pardon or suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases,” says Kavita Srivastava, secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

Srivastava said that Rajashtan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sent the petition for pardon to Governor Patil in May, but it was returned with several queries and concerns that could be dubbed as legal and factual. “About four weeks ago, a reply was sent to the governor. It is time he responded to this humanitarian call and signed the pardon, as advised by the [Indian] cabinet … It would be a fitting gesture by India to send Chishty back home at the earliest. The Chishty family is here, and what better gift can we give them than the pardon from the governor?”

The family is due to meet Dr Chishty again on Tuesday. “Jail authorities have forbidden Urdu books and I could not find an English translation of the Akbarnama. But we have managed to pick up two other books he asked for – Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God and A History of Jerusalem. We will give these to him on Tuesday,” his daughter told reporters.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.

Karachi News Sources -2

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