Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti has been acquitted by the Supreme Court of the murder charge in a 20-year-old case and has also been allowed to return to his native country without any restriction. However, the court declined to interfere with his conviction for causing hurt under section 324 of the IPC and served him the sentence already undergone by him.
The bench noted that the 82-year-old Chishti was in jail for almost one year and "the ends of justice will be met by serving him with the period of imprisonment already undergone". The bench directed the authorities to return to him his passport and said he was free to return to Pakistan. The bench, which considered his age and qualifications (Chishti, an eminent professor in Karachi Medical College, holds a PhD from Edinburgh University), directed the authorities to ensure his "smooth return" to his native country.
Chishti had come to see his sick mother in 1992 when he got embroiled in a brawl in which a neighbour was shot dead while his nephew got injured. Born in Ajmer to a prosperous family of caretakers of the Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti shrine, Chishti was studying in Pakistan in 1947 and chose to stay there.
After a prolonged trial that stretched 18 years, Chishti was held guilty and was awarded life sentence in January last year by an Ajmer sessions court. Chishti, who suffers from heart, hearing and other ailments, had lived in his brother's poultry farm till his conviction.
His case had came to light when Justice Markandey Katju, the then Supreme Court judge, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging that the Pakistani national be pardoned on humanitarian grounds.