The daughter of Dr. Saiyyad Mohammed Khaleel Chishty, a Pakistani prisoner incarcerated in India since 1992 has sent an urgent appeal to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani urging them to help repatriate her father.
In her appeal dated May 5, 2011, couriered to the President and Prime Minister, Dr Chishty's daughter Shoa Jawaid in Karachi seeks their "gracious indulgence for the release and repatriation from the prison of Ajmer Shareef India of my father, Dr.Saiyyad Mohammed Khaleel Chishty, who is now about 80 years old, a heart patient with an unhealed hip fracture, who is unable to move to meet his basic needs."
She also provides details of the case, which include Dr. Chishty's credentials as "a highly educated law abiding citizen of Pakistan" who obtained his B.Sc Honors and M.Sc in Microbiology in 1959 from Karachi University, a Ph.D from Edinburgh University Scotland and additional degrees of M.I.
Biology and F.R.S.H from London University. "He has been professor in the universities of Karachi, Nigeria, King Abdul Aziz University Jeddah and Tebrez, Iran, etc. All his six children are also highly educated law abiding citizens."
"In 1992 he visited India to see his ailing mother. During his stay with his brother in Ajmer, he was falsely implicated in a case of riots, with obvious mischievous and mala fide motives since he was a Pakistani. He had succeeded in getting released on bail, but he was not allowed to return to Pakistan since 1992. This case of riots remained pending for about 19 years. As late as December 2010, my old and ailing father was unfortunately convicted under Section 302 and sentenced for 14 years. My father is currently in Ajmer prison hospital since January 2011 and he is in a very precarious condition as necessary medical treatment is not available to him."
Shoa Jawaid writes that she was inspired to make this appeal by the Pakistan government's "very magnanimous human right gesture of releasing and repatriating an Indian prisoner Gopal Das, in response to the very passionate Judgment and Appeal made by the Honorable Judges of the Supreme Court of India."
The judgement had rightly held that while the Indian Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to issue direction to any authority in Pakistan, that "did not prevent them from making a request to the Pakistani Authorities to consider the appeal of the Petitioner for releasing him on humanitarian grounds by remitting the remaining part of his sentence".
She urges Dr Chishty's "repatriation to Pakistan as it is his earnest desire to spend his last days with his family members in Pakistan."
"My family and I shall be extremely grateful for your kind humanitarian gesture as requested above. I am very optimistic that the President and Prime Minister of India would not ignore your appeal/request and will reciprocate your very humanitarian and generous gesture of releasing and repatriating the Indian prisoner Gopal Das."
"Governor Patil assured us that he will sympathetically consider the case, but only after going through its details," Nayyar and Bhatt told reporters later, according to the Press Trust of India.
Patil is also the officiating governor of Rajasthan.
"We told the Governor that India and Pakistan have been exchanging lists of prisoners held in each other's prisons and have been making good progress in their repatriation," Bhatt said. He highlighted the case of Gopal Dass, an Indian citizen who had been languishing in Pakistani jails for 27 years and was released recently "on humanitarian grounds".
"Though the Governor did not give any definite time frame to us, he assured that it would take at least a month before he will be able to go through the case files... The Constitution of India gives the Governor powers under Article 161 to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment, as well as the power to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of the people convicted. We have appealed to the Governor to exercise this power in the name of humanity, mercy and reciprocity to release Dr Chishty," Nayyar said.
Bhatt said that people both in India and Pakistan want better relations. "It is time we should stop de-humanising each other. When the dialogue process between the two countries broke down post Mumbai terror attacks, it is the Civil society on both sides that has been working to ensure that humanitarian causes are taken up," Bhatt added.
Bhatt said: 'Patil was very considerate and he already knew about this matter. He said that he will try to solve this issue at the earliest on the basis of its merits. Besides our own memorandum, we have also submitted an appeal that was sent by Amna Chishty, Khaleel's daughter, from Canada.'
Nayar and Bhatt had also met union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Sunday to discuss the matter, adds IANS.
PUCL delegation meets Rajasthan Home Secretary: On April 20, a delegation of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) led by Vice President PUCL Dr. Radha Kant Saxena, a national expert on jails, met P. K. Deb, Home Secretary, Government of Rajasthan, and presented him a memo urging him to "request the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and his cabinet of Ministers to advise the Governor of Rajasthan to invoke his powers under Article 161 of the Constitution of India and see that Dr Chishty returns to his home in Pakistan alive and as soon as possible".
"He (Dr Chishty) is presently suffering from multiple ailments, including a cardiac ailment, since he suffered a major stroke in 2008 and then in 2010, when he was on the operation table undergoing a hip operation to join his hip bones which had fractured... His condition is obvious from the fact that after the conviction he was carried by two people to the court and also brought into the Ajmer jail with similar support. His hip joint is completely immobile and therefore he cannot walk on his own. He can barely use a walker," states the PUCL memo.
"...Dr. Chishty is a fit case for granting of pardon and or remission of sentence. He is a person of impeccable character. We urge you to note his advanced age and his illness and... to use your good offices and request the Chief Minister of Rajasthan and his cabinet of Ministers to advise the Governor of Rajasthan to invoke his powers under Article 161 of the Constitution of India and see that Dr. Chishty returns to his home in Pakistan alive and as soon as possible."
In an email updating Dr Chisty's family and those working for his release, PUCL General Secretary Kavita Srivastava wrote that Rajasthan's Home Secretary was very cooperative and agreed to aid the process to facilitate Dr Chishty's release. Finally, however, it will be up to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to agree to send the prisoner across. For this purpose, PUCL is also trying to obtain an appointment with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
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