Family awaits return of recently released Pakistani in India | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 17.04.2012
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Family awaits return of recently released Pakistani in India

The Indian Supreme Court has recently released Khalil Chishti, a Pakistani citizen, on bail. His family now awaits his return to Pakistan after 20 years.

It took Indian courts 18 years to decide the fate of an 80-year-old Pakistani citizen Khalil Chishti, who was accused of murdering one of his relatives in the Indian city of Ajmer in 1992. During the long trial, Chishti was put under house arrest and was not allowed to leave Ajmer. The court only found him guilty last year, after which he was sent to prison.

Chishti's family says he was not involved in the murder during his visit to India in 1992, and that he was unlawfully detained for twenty years. His family argues that had Chishti been convicted earlier, he would have spent less time in detention.

Khalil Chishti's daughter Shua Chishti talk to DW correspondent Rafat Saeed in Karachi

Chishti's daughter thanks activists for their support

It was Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari who raised this issue during his recent visit to India, and requested Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to facilitate Chishti's release.

Despite Chishti's release, it remains uncertain whether he will soon be able to return to Pakistan.

"Twenty years of suffering"

Shua Chishti, Chishti's daughter, told DW that the Indian government had not yet taken any action to send her father back, and that she was still not sure whether he would return.

"Twenty years ago, when we came to know about his (Chishti's) arrest in India, we were in a state of disbelief. We did not know why he was arrested," reminisced Chishti's daughter.

She said her family had to suffer for twenty years because of her father's detention.

"We have relatives in India, but it is extremely difficult for us to get visas to go meet them. I think it is only because we are Pakistanis. Our other relatives, who are living in other countries, can easily travel to India," she said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (left) talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Pakistani President Zardari was in India earlier this month

Shua Chishti said her father had to suffer because of the Indo-Pakistani politics.

"He was detained because he was a Pakistani. Since the demolition of the Babri Mosque in 1992 (in Ayodhya, India), things have worsened for the Pakistanis traveling to India," she said. After the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, she said, things went beyond repair.

Between hope and despair

Shua Chishti, however, thanked human rights activists of both India and Pakistan for pursuing her father's case. She specifically named renowned Indian film director Mahesh Bhatt and former Pakistani law minister Iqbal Haider for their role in her father's release.

Officials of the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi are hopeful that Chishti will head back to his country soon. But Shua Chishti is still apprehensive about the homecoming. She is afraid something could happen that would jeopardize Indo-Pakistani relations, and thus also her father's return.

Author: Rafat Saeed / ss
Editor: Sarah Berning

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