Chishty issue before court: PC tells Pak delegation

New Delhi: The issue of ailing Pakistani microbiologist Khaleel Chishty, lodged in Rajasthan jail, figured today at the luncheon meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan`s Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who was seated opposite Home Minister P Chidambaram at the lunch table, is understood to have inquired about Chishty. Chidambaram is understood to have said that the Chishty case was before a court which was yet to take a view on the matter.

Chishty was handed a life term on January 31, 2011 by a trial court for a murder in Ajmer in 1992. Born in Ajmer in a prosperous family of khadims, Chishty was studying in Pakistan at the time of Independence and chose to stay on and become a citizen.

During a visit to Ajmer in 1992 to meet his ailing mother, he got involved in a dispute and, in the melee, one of his neighbours was shot dead and Chishty`s nephew was injured.

The sessions court granted him bail a few days after the incident, but ordered him not to leave Ajmer. Chishty lived on his brother`s poultry farm till his conviction.

Chishty`s case came to light when the then Supreme Court judge Markandeya Katju wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging that the Pakistani national be pardoned on humanitarian grounds.