After spending over 14 months in jail, 80-year-old ailing Pakistani scientist Mohammed Khalil Chisti was on Wednesday released on bail from Ajmer jail in a two-decade-old murder case and said he wanted to return to his homeland soon.
"I am happy to be out of the jail. I believe in god and thank him. My wish is to see my family members in Pakistan as soon as possible," Chisti, who was granted bail by the supreme court on Monday, said as his brother Jamil Chisti and cousin Aaiyad Anwar-ul-Haq along with others gave him a warm welcome on stepping out of Ajmer central jail.
Speaking in English, Chisti said, "I would also thank President Asif Ali Zardari for making efforts for me and for visiting Ajmer".
Chisti was granted bail on humanitarian grounds a day after his case was discussed between the authorities of the two countries during Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to India. Activists in India and Pakistan have been demanding Chisti's release.
After furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two securities of 50,000 each in a fast track court, his brothers went to the jail where he was released after completion of formalities.
Dressed in a white Pathani suit and a skull cap and holding a 'bidi' in hand, a relieved Chisti said he was eagerly waiting to go back home.
When asked about the case of Indian convict Sarabjit Singh, who is on death row in Pakistan and is lodged in a jail there for 22 years, Chisti said he did not know about him but asserted that "every human being should get justice".
While granting bail, the apex court had directed Chisti not to leave the country without prior permission from the court.
An ailing Chisti had been lodged in the jail hospital.
A microbiologist by profession, Chisti had come to visit his sick mother in Ajmer in 1992 when he got embroiled in a dispute and, in the ensuing melee, one of his neighbours was shot dead while his nephew got injured.
Born in Ajmer to a prosperous family of caretakers of the shrine of sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Chisti was studying in Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947 and chose to stay back in that country.
"This is the blessing of Khawaja Garibnawaz," said Jamil Chisti on his release. The apex court bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar considered his old age and the fact that he has been in India since 1992, after the murder case was lodged against him, and granted the bail.
Reacting to his release, the Bharatiya Janata Party hoped that Pakistan would reciprocate the gesture and free Sarabjit Singh.
"Obviously, we all stand in India with the aspiration that there is a reciprocity that Pakistan must follow on this," BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.