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Pak President sends special aircraft to bring back Chishti

May 15, 2012 15:58 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is sending a special aircraft to India on Tuesday to bring back Pakistan's ailing virologist Khalil Chishti, who has been detained in Rajasthan for nearly two decades on charges of involvement in a murder.

The special jet will fly the 82-year-old Chishti from New Delhi to Pakistan, where he will be received on his arrival by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, official sources said.

Diplomatic sources told PTI that Pakistani authorities had obtained permission for the special aircraft to go to Delhi to being back Chishti.

Reports in the Pakistani media said Interior Minister Malik had spoken on phone to Chishti and informed him that all arrangements had been made to bring him back to Pakistan.

On his return to Pakistan, Chishti will have to hand over his passport to the Indian High Commission.

Chishti is expected to be in Pakistan by Tuesday evening.

On May 10, India's Supreme Court allowed Chishti to visit Pakistan before his appeal against his conviction in the murder case is taken up.

Chishti, a resident of Karachi, has been ailing and is unable to walk without help.

He is accused of involvement in the murder of a man during a brawl in Ajmer in April 1992. At the time, Chishti was visiting India to meet relatives and to offer prayers at the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.

In January last year, Chishti was given life imprisonment after an 18-year trial and after the sentencing, he was detained in Ajmer Jail.

India's Supreme Court ordered Chishti's release on bail a month ago.

In a personal letter sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month, President Asif Ali Zardari asked for Chishti to be released and repatriated on humanitarian grounds.

Zardari had also taken up the issue of Chishti with Singh during a day-long private visit to India on April 8.

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