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SC may allow Chishti to visit Pak temporarily

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today indicated that it may allow 82-year-old Pakistani microbiologist Mohammed Khalil Chishti, awarded life term in a 20-year-old murder case, to visit his country temporarily.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar asked Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran to seek necessary instructions from the Union ministries of the home affairs and the external affairs about the conditions that could be imposed on Dr Chishti, pending disposal of his appeal against his conviction.

The bench gave the directions amid the Centre`s objection that if allowed to go to Pakistan temporarily, Chishti may not return to India at all. He is presently out on bail, but has been asked to confine himself to Ajmer only.

"Merely because he is a Pakistani, can we treat him differently? We can understand if you say he has links with some terrorist organisation," Justice Sathasivam heading the bench observed and posted the matter for further hearing to Thursday.

The apex court said it would like to consider Chishti`s plea in view of the special circumstances of his case. The bench said Chishti was an eminent scientist of global repute and is 82 year old with no previous criminal record and the issues involved are the bilateral relations between the two countries.

"He (Chishti) has pointed out that he has not been able to meet even his children and grand children, who have grown up," the bench observed and also said it would like to take up the scientist`s appeal for hearing and expeditious disposal during October and November.

Parasaran maintained that the appeal can be expeditiously taken up but Chishti should not be allowed to go to Pakistan and instead he be allowed treatment in Delhi.

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