I met Sarabjit Singh’s brave lawyer Awais Sheikh in Delhi some months ago, where his book was released. He was very confident Sarabjit wouldn’t be hanged. As was Justice (Retd.) Katju, who launched the book. Justice Katju said there was no point campaigning for Sarabjit’s release until the Pakistan elections were over. I got a similar impression of optimism from people who had been following the Sarabjit case.
Given below is the text of a letter sent yesterday by JATIN DESAI to the Indian foreign secretary
Shri Ranjan Mathai,
Ministry for External Affairs,
Government of India,
New Delhi -110001
Shri Ranjan Mathai ji,
Greetings from Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace & Democracy (PIPFPD).
This is in regarding three Pakistani fishermen arrested in 1999 when their boat was destroyed in a cyclone and they strayed into Indian water. The Indian Coast Guard arrested few Pakistani fishermen including Nawaz Ali Jat, Usman Sachu son of Haji Ibrahim Jat, Zaman Jat son of Haji Jat and Usman Jat son of Ali Mohammad Jat.
The insensitive governments of India and Pakistan are not moved even when one of their citizens dies in the other country, especially if the citizen was a poor fisherman arrested for the crime of inadvertently crossing a maritime boundary.
The 80 year old Pakistani virologist Dr Khalil Chishty just reached Pakistan. His son Tariq called me from Islamabad. “Sorry we couldn’t meet, it was all so rushed.” Tariq Chishty was worrying about getting a PIA ticket – President Zardari sent his special PAF plane to get them! Contrast this with the rank indifference with which the Indian government treats the issue of Indian prisoners in Pakistan.
Just a few days ago, Tariq Chishty was convinced his father is not going to be freed in the hearing on Thursday and was ready to return to Pakistan alone. But the Supreme Court of India, in an unprecedented judgement, allowed him to go home, on the condition that he must return by 1 November for the next hearing. Some months ago when his grandson had met him in jail, Dr Chishty had bid him goodbye as though it was the last time. This is not the end yet – the Supreme Court may uphold his conviction and god knows if he’ll again have to spend time in jail. 20 years in India have been jail-like for him even when he’s not been in jail. For details of his case, whether and why he should be granted mercy and so on, please see this article by me. Continue reading Dr Khalil Chishty is back home – three cheers for candle-light peaceniks→
This is a statement put out by some of us; names of signatories is given at the end
We, the undersigned, welcome the decision of Pakistan government to release 26 Indian fishermen on humanitarian grounds. They were in Pakistani prison for more than two years for allegedly violating territorial border. The Pakistani gesture came in the background of a meeting, which took place in New Delhi, between the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh & the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on last Sunday. The poor Indian and Pakistani fishermen find it extremely difficult to recognize other country’s territorial border in the mid-sea.
Given below is the statement of thePEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIESon the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to grant bail to Dr Khaleel Chishty. Given below the statement is the full text of the court order
The PUCL is extremely relieved that the SC decided to set free from the Prison 80 year old Dr. Khalil Chishty serving a life sentence in Ajmer Central Jail for a murder case. This is an extremely significant step but not sufficient as bail for Dr. Chishty as seen earlier when the trial was underway for 19 years, was like house arrest. he had to report regularly to the police and could not step out of his house and area. We hope that the next step of sending Dr. Chishty back home happens soon as it would be better for all that we send him back alive, when he can be with those who care for him and love. The PUCL appreciates the wisdom of the Supreme Court for this judgement.
While Judicial remedy would be pursued in the Supreme Court, we would like to remind all that the executive remedy as provided in the Indian Constitution of President and the Governot of a State granting Mercy to an individual at any stage of the judicial process, was stalled by the Governor of Rajasthan, who despite being recommended twice by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan that Dr. Chishty be pardoned, the Governor only let the file gather dust. Continue reading On the Supreme Court granting bail to Dr Khaleel Chishty: PUCL statement→
Justice Markandey Katju, who has upon retirement just been appointed head of the Press Council of India, today addressed the media at his residence in Delhi. Towards the end of his speech, he said:
Before I conclude, I once again repeat my appeal to the Indian Government through the Prime Minister to release Dr Khaleel Chishty who is in Ajmer Jail. He is 80 years old and has not very long to live. He was an eminent virologist in Karachi Medical College and was a PhD from Edinburgh University. He is a heart patient and has many other ailments also. He is unable to walk. In the name of humanity I appeal to the Indian Government to release him and allow him to get back to home in Karachi to his wife and daughter who live there. The Pakistan Government honoured my appeal and released Gopal Das from a Pakistani jail. I am sad that the Indian Government has not yet honoured my appeal made several months ago to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Hon’ble Home Minister, and His Excellency the Governor of Rajasthan. In my opinion, the prestige of our country will be invreased if Dr. Chishty is released, whereas if he dies in jail, we will be disgraced. Continue reading Gopal Das is free, Khaleel Chishty is not→
An elderly, bed-ridden man sentenced to life imprisonment in an ‘enemy’ country for a murder he didn’t commit awaits the signature on his clemency petition. By Beena Sarwar and Shivam Vij
Human rights activists in India are renewing their efforts for the release of the elderly Pakistani prisoner Dr Khalil Chishty lodged in Ajmer prison hospital, whose mercy petition awaits just one signature from the Rajasthan Governor Shivraj Patil. The mercy petition had earlier been approved by the state government and had reached Patil in June this year. At that point, it was expected that Dr Chishty, 78, a renowned virologist bed-ridden with various illnesses in jail, would soon be released.
Instead, Governor Patil raised a set of questions for the state government to answer. The Rajasthan government has answered all the queries, but has not submitted the file to the Governor again – perhaps because, according to sources, the Governor has already indicated that he will not sign the petition. Continue reading Bring Dr Chishty home – alive→
This note comes fromKAVITA SRIVASTAVAof 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. Continue reading Dr Khaleel Chishty will finally be free→