The wait for Dr Khalil Chishty’s family was finally over on Wednesday as the octogenarian returned to his hometown 20 years after being incarcerated at his ancestral home in India.
The 82-year-old virologist was greeted with a resounding applause, rose petals and flashing cameras as he arrived at the Jinnah International Airport at 9pm.
Clad in an off-white waistcoat and a Jinnah cap, Chishty, in a wheelchair, was escorted by his family and MQM leader Babar Ghauri, and left for his home in North Nazimabad, without speaking to the media.
Chishty’s son Tariq, who had accompanied his father from the capital, said: “It is the happiest day of my life.” The doctor’s wife, who was accompanied by former deputy mayor Nasreen Jalil, was speechless and teary-eyed at her husband’s return. Jalil called her a ‘hero,’ for raising the children all by herself while her husband was incarcerated.
Earlier, the family, while waiting anxiously at the airport, said they were unable to express how they felt.
Chishty’s daughter Shoa Jawaid said: “I can’t tell you how happy I am. I was hopeful that he would come back, and by the grace of God, he is with us again.”
Chishty’s other daughter, Farah Hadi, held her daughter as she waited at the arrival lounge for her father. She said two more of her sisters, based in Jeddah and Canada, would reach Karachi in a week.
Chaos at the airport
As soon as Chishty came out in the arrival area, cameramen scrambled to capture his arrival and were pushed back by security officials. In the ensuing chaos, journalists fell on top of each other and cameras were broken.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.