Pakistani scientist Mohammad Khalil Chisti talks to the media afterhis release from Ajmer jail, in Ajmer, India, Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Chisti, who was serving a life sentence in connection with a 1992 murder case, was granted bail by the Supreme Court Monday on humanita rian grounds, according to local news reports. (AP Photo/Deepak Sharma)
Photo dated April 11, 2012 shows Pakistani scientist Mohammad Khalil Chisti talks to the media in Ajmer, India. —AP Photo

KARACHI: The Indian Supreme Court has ordered the release of Pakistani microbiologist Dr Khalil Chishti after the aging scientist spent 20 years in jail or detention.

Chishti, 80, is now allowed to return freely to Pakistan after the court dropped the murder charge against him and said he had served enough time for his conviction of “causing voluntary harm”.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, the Indian Supreme court’s Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi said on Wednesday that as Chishti had already served 14 months in, the “ends of justice will be met by serving him with the period of imprisonment already undergone”.

Pakistan’s first virologist, Dr Chishti was allowed to go home in May this year on humanitarian grounds and returned to India on November with his wife and son.

Chishti was implicated in a murder case when he had travelled to India in 1992 to see his ailing mother. Chishti has always denied the charges.

After an 18-year-long trial, the octogenarian professor was awarded life imprisonment by a Rajasthan court and sent to the Ajmer jail in January last year.

President Asif Ali Zardari had written a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in April this year, seeking Chisti’s release and repatriation to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.