This note comes from KAVITA SRIVASTAVA of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Dr. Khaleel Chishty, the 78 year old a renowned Virologist from Pakistan, will now go home very soon. A process that began on the 20th of April, 2011 will finally conclude at the Rajasthan end two months later precisely on the 20th of June, with the Governor signing the mercy petition that will let him go, once the MEA give their stamp.
As you are aware Dr. Chishty was sentenced for life for allegedly being an accomplice in a murder case in Ajmer, which was false. The sentencing happened after 19 years on 31st January, 2011. In this period of 19 years, Dr. Chishty never went home to Karachi in Pakistan, lived a life of a desolate in a farm as he was out on bail and could not leave the country. After the decision of the protracted trial, he was arrested and was moved to the Ajmer Central Jail, it may be known that Dr. Chishty is a paraplegic, with a history of repeated heart attacks. He applied for relief of suspension of sentence from the Rajasthan High Court Jaipur, which was denied to him, simply because he had not served, enough time in Jail, although all the others convicted in the same case had their sentence suspended. Actually, the covert reason which was the comment made by the judge was that how could a Pakistani be granted suspension of sentence, not seeing the tragedy of his life, his health.
Dr. Chishty who is 78 years old, suffered several heart attacks and a hip bone fracture found himself in Ajmer with an absolute bleak future, perhaps never to go home. A campaign of several journalists, judges, lawyers and acitivists, began in April this month in both countries, to get Dr. Chishty out of the country, after being granted mercy at the India level.
This is how the chronology of events happened to get him released. The chronology below is a revised version of the one posted earlier, as updated by Beena Sarwar.
April 4, 2011: Amna Chishty, daughter of Dr Chishty, appeals to Aman ki Asha to take up her father’s case in and help release him like Gopal Das, the Indian prisoner. Aman ki Asha forwards her appeal to several Indian activists, journalists and a Supreme Court Judge, who starts to work behind the scenes setting in motion a campaign to release Dr Chishty.
April 11, 2011: Separate petitions were sent to Pratibha Patil, President of India and Mr. Shivraj Patil, Rajasthan Governor, signed by Mahesh Bhatt, Jatin Desai, Kavita Srivastava, Admiral (retd) L. Ramdas and Kuldip Nayar. They also sent a detailed petition sent to Mr. P Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, immediately after 11th April. Subsequently, reminders were also sent.
April 20: A Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Rajasthan, delegation consisting of Kavita Srivastava, Radha Kant Saxena and Jamil Chishty, Dr. Chishty’s brother from Ajmer, presented a memo to Rajasthan Home Secretary requesting him to begin the proceedings of granting mercy to Dr. Khalil Chishty.- see attachment for all the details of Dr. Chishty’s case and the legal measures for granting mercy.
The first step for such an appeal is the Home Department asking the Jail authorities to send the papers, including an application by Dr. Chishty requesting mercy. The home department sets the ball rolling.
April 22: PUCL sent a memo to the Governor Rajasthan, requesting pardon for Dr. Chishty or the remission of sentence under Article 161 of the Indian Constitution.
April 25: Renowned film maker Mahesh Bhatt and senior journalist Kuldip Nayar met Governor of Punjab and Rajasathan Shivraj Patil in Chandigarh, who assured them that he would try his best to help Dr Chishty.
May 23: File of Dr. Chishty arrives from Central Jail Ajmer level, with all the papers needed, including NOC and certificate of good character from Collector, SP and a letter by Dr. Chishty himself requesting mercy from the Governor, Medical report, case papers, all this came to Home Secretary in Jaipur through the DG Jails, Omendra Bharadwaj.
May 27: After whetting of the files by the concerned Deputy Secretary in the Home Department, the file reaches the Home Secretary Rajasthan.
May 30: Home Secretary Rajathan moved his note to the Chief Secretary, S. Ahmed, from where it went to the Home Minister of Rajasthan Shanti Dhariwal.
June 7: The file reached the Chief Mnister, Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot.
June 16: Pakistan Supreme Court is assured by their Government that efforts are being made to get Dr. Chishty back and the case filed by daughter Shoa Chishty argued by Senator and ex-law minister Iqbal Haider; was dismissed by the bench.
June 16: Justice Markandey Katju writes to PM in his individual capacity for the early release of Dr. Chishty on Humanitarian grounds.
June 17: CM Rajasthan signed the petition.
June 19th or 20th: Governor Rajasthan is expected to sign the file.
June 20th or 21st: File will return to the Home Department and from there it will be sent to Home Ministry, Union of India and Ministry of External Affairs.