Chishti’s release: Indian minister spearheads effort

Pakistani inmate could win freedom within weeks.

Aditi Phadnis July 08, 2011


Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram has moved into higher gear a campaign to spring Pakistani prisoner Dr Khalil Chishti from Ajmer prison on humanitarian grounds. On Thursday, Chidambaram took up Chishti’s case with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and pleaded with him to expedite it in any manner possible.

Decision-making has slowed down considerably in the wake of an imminent cabinet reshuffle in Delhi.

A pardon can only be granted by Governor Shivraj Patil – and the governor is one of the persons likely to be recalled to Delhi as a minister. Hence most decisions that require his attention are on hold.

Sources in the Home Office said there was no problem in principle to Chishti’s release. They said, however, that it is rare for a person convicted on a murder charge to be granted bail. Chishti has been on bail all these years and has served a jail sentence for only a short time.

Chidambaram has satisfied himself that the interests of justice – in the form of the judgment handed down by a lower court – will not be compromised if Chishti is released. In other words, the others convicted of the same charge will continue to be in jail serving a sentence even after Chishti has been pardoned.

From the way it looks now, it appears a matter of weeks, if not days, before Chishti is released. Chidambaram has advised the chief minister to have the file signed by the governor and returned to the government as soon as possible so that the Rajasthan government can act on the governor’s orders.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2011.


MKD | 10 years ago | Reply

Welcome move, even though belated.

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