On April 4, 2011 Amna Chishty, daughter of retired Pakistani professor Dr Khaleel Chishty currently a prisoner in Ajmer prison hospital appealed to Aman ki Asha to secure her father’s release, inspired by the Indian Supreme Court’s appeal for the release of Indian prisoner Gopal Dass in Pakistan, whom the Pakistan government subsequently released. Since then, events have moved fast in India, with various high-powered individuals working behind the scenes to help Dr Chishty. Below, an appeal from distinguished Indian citizens to their president.
April 11, 2011
Honourable Pratibha Patil
The President of India
May we bring to your attention an unfortunate but sad case of an eminent Pakistani academic Dr. Saiyyad Mohammad Khaleel Chishty, once an active Professor of Virology in Karachi. He has been suffering since 1992. He had gone to Ajmer in 1992 to look after his ailing mother. A family dispute involving his distant paternal relatives took an unseemly turn and he was arrested under IPC Section 302, 307/37, 302/34 and 324/34. Our inquiry reveals that he was falsely implicated. The trial took almost 20 years when he was finally convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in January of 2011.
While he was out on bail for almost 18 years he never violated bail. He was always present whenever he was asked to report to the police or the courts.
Dr. Chishty is nearly 80 years old and has suffered serious health problems including heart problems and an un-healed hip fracture that rendered him unable to move on his own. He is now in the prison hospital. His family is concerned that he may not survive much longer in the jail in his condition and wishes to see him return home to spend last days of his life. On the day he was convicted two persons had to pick him up and carry him inside the jail in Ajmer.
As you are aware, Indian and Pakistan have been exchanging lists of prisoners held in each other’s prisons, and have been making good progress in their repatriation. Last past month, the Indian Supreme Court made an appeal to Pakistan for the release of Mr. Gopal Dass, an Indian citizen that had been imprisoned in Pakistan for the last 27 years. Within a month, Pakistan responded by ordering his release and he is back in India
The Constitution of India gives the President powers to “grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment”, as well as the power to “suspend, remit or commute the sentence” of people convicted of offenses. We are appealing to you to exercise this power in the name of humanity, mercy and reciprocity to release Dr. Chisty.
1. Jatin Desai Journalist & Focus on the Global South, India
2. Kuldip Nayar Veteran Journalist
3. Mahesh Bhatt Film Maker
4. Admiral L Ramdas Retired Indian Navy Chief
5. Kavita Srivastav Human Rights Activist, PUCL