New Delhi, Nov 28: Daughter of Khalil Chishty, the Pakistani virologist serving life imprisonment in the Ajmer jail, on Sunday appealed to the Indian government to release her father on “humanitarian grounds”.
We have appealed to the Indian government to release him on humanitarian grounds as he has already been punished for 19 years and there was no point in sentencing him for life after such a long trial, said Shoa Jawaid.
“He is almost 80 years old, and for 20 years he has been separated from his family.... How long will he continue to suffer,” Shoa said.
“Hope is the only thing we have, we can never lose that as long as we are alive,” she said while wiping tears from eyes.
She doubted that her father was being discriminated against for being a Pakistani national. “I don't see any other reason why he is being subjected to this continuous trauma for no fault of his.”
However, Chisty's wife blamed judicial process for the suffering of her husband.
“Does it take so much to convict a person. We haven't seen or heard anything like this before, 19 years and still waiting,” 65-year-old Begum Mehrunissa said.
Mehrunissa, who has lost her capacity to hear, is here with her daughter Shoa and grandson Syed Aki Ghalib Chishty.
The family is here on a one-month visa and running from pillar to post seeking Chisty's release.
His 23-year-old grandson Chishty recalled his emotional reunion with his grandfather in a Ajmail jail hospital on Thursday.
“He is very weak and can't even walk. At this age he needs our support and care.
“India in any case has to send my grandfather dead or alive someday so why not send him back alive? This goodwill gesture will only improve the relations between the two countries,” he said.
He said earlier his grandfather was very hopeful about his release and used to assure the family that everything will be fine. But now he seems to be losing all his hopes.
He said his grandfather told him that “everybody, from judiciary, police, family and politicians, are waiting for me to die so that this chapter ends with my death”.
After Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot cleared the mercy petition on June 17, it reached the state's acting Governor Shivraj Patil for consideration.
Patil sent it back to the government with some queries.
The petition for his clemency, initiated back in April this year, has now again reached Patil for consideration, and there are renewed hope for the release.
Press Council chief and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has sought the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for Chishty's release.
Katju had earlier shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April, requesting him to grant a pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution to Chishty.