ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday a petition moved to press for an early release of a Pakistani educationist and scientist from a jail at Ajmer in India, saying it did not want to become a laughing stock by exercising authority beyond its territorial jurisdiction.
“Since the matter relates to a foreign country therefore the government should take up the issue in accordance with the relevant rules and protocol,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim that had taken up the petition.
Dr Saiyyad Mohammad Khaleel Chishty, who went to India in 1992 to see his ailing mother, was implicated in a murder case. Later he succeeded in getting bail, but his movement was confined to the Ajmer district. The case was decided in December last year and Dr Chishty was sentenced to life by a court headed by a special judge in Ajmer.
Filed by eminent lawyer Syed Iqbal Haider on behalf of Shoa Jawaid, daughter of Dr Chishty, All Pakistan Women Association and Legal Aid Call Centre, the petition had requested the apex court to direct the government of Pakistan to launch efforts by using diplomatic influence for the release of the scientist on humanitarian grounds.
Before dismissing the petition, the court took cognisance of the fact that the foreign ministry which had submitted a two-page statement before the court was already seized with the matter.
In its report the Foreign Office said it was fully committed to pursuing the matter of Dr Chishty with the Indian authorities for remission of his sentence on humanitarian grounds and his early repatriation to Pakistan.
The High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi has already forwarded a request to the Indian authorities for remission of his sentence in view of his old age and deteriorating health.
The petition had requested the Supreme Court to graciously consider making a request to the president and prime minister of India and the governor of the state of Rajasthan to order release and repatriation of Dr Chishty after remitting the sentence, in a similar fashion as the Supreme Court of India had chosen to make a request for the release of Indian national Gopal Das to the president of Pakistan.
Gopal Das was later released on the orders of President Asif Ali Zardari.Dr Chishty did his PhD from Edinburgh University Scotland and got additional degrees in Biology from London University. He used to be a professor at the universities of Karachi, Nigeria, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah and Tebrez (Iran).
Currently, he is in an Ajmer prison hospital because he is a heart patient with an unhealed hip fracture which makes him unable to move on his own or to meet his most basic needs of life without physical aid and assistance.
The family members and friends of Dr Chishty had also presented his case before a joint judicial committee for the prisoners comprising eight retired judges – four each from India and Pakistan. In its meeting on March 19, the committee had recommended the release and repatriation of Dr Chishty to Pakistan at the earliest.
Several highly respected and renowned citizens, peace and human right activists and organisations of India, including Kuldip Nayar, Mahesh Bhatt, Admiral L. Ramdas, Radha Kant Saxena, Kavita Shriwastav, Jatin Desai, former member of Rajya Sabha Shahid Siddiqui, Kamla Bhasin, Mazhar Hussain, Advocate Vrinda Grover have repeatedly appealed to the highest executives of Indian government and the state of Rajasthan to remit the remaining sentence, release and repatriate Dr Chishty to Pakistan.
Social activists of Pakistan, particularly Abdul Sattar Edhi, have made a fervent appeal to the Indian president and prime minister to order immediate release and repatriation to Pakistan of Dr Chishty on humanitarian grounds.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust and several other human rights organizations are also urging and pleading to the government of Pakistan to persuade the highest executives of India to sympathetically consider the case of Dr Chishty and allow his release because of his deteriorating health condition, before it is too late.