Be ready to do bhangra: Chishti to people back home

Karachi: Having been granted permission by the Indian Supreme Court to return to Pakistan, an elated Khalil Chishti, who is serving life term in a 20-year-old murder case in Rajasthan, today asked everyone back home to be ready to do the "bhangra".

"I will be very happy when I come to Pakistan. Everyone should prepare to do the bhangra," 82-year-old microbiologist Chishti told Geo News channel on phone after the Supreme Court allowed him to visit Pakistan for a temporary stay, subject to certain conditions.

Asked how he was feeling, he replied: "My health is fine. I am a heart patient and this excitement is (not good for me) but I will not let it affect my heart."

Chishti said the first person he wants to meet on his return is his elder brother. "I have not met him for about 20 years. I want to go and offer my `salam` to him," he said. He said he was not aware of the court`s order as he was not present during today`s hearing but he expected to leave for Pakistan in five to 10 days.

His comments came after a bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar said Chishti shall deposit his passport at the Indian High Commission in Pakistan and furnish as security Rs five lakh in cash within two weeks before the Supreme Court registry.

The apex court directed that Chishti shall return to India by November one, as it has decided to expedite the hearing of the appeal filed by him challenging his conviction in a murder case in Rajasthan. The family of the Pakistani microbiologist expressed happiness at the Indian Supreme Court allowing him to return home on humanitarian grounds.

Chishti`s daughter Shoha told the media that the family had been offering special prayers after hearing of the Indian court`s order and preparing to welcome him. "Everyone is obviously very happy. Everyone is thanking Allah and my mother has offered special prayers of thanksgiving. There is a lot of excitement. We want him to come to Pakistan as soon as possible," an emotional Shoha said.

She said there were "some legal matters" that have to be sorted out before her father`s return.
"Our lawyer will guide us about his bail and the bond to be submitted. We are hoping he will come soon," she said. Chishti has been ailing and is unable to walk without help.

Earlier on May 4, the Indian Supreme Court had agreed to hear Chishti`s plea to visit his country and had sought the Centre`s response to it.

Chishti had been granted bail by the apex court on April 9. Held guilty in a 20-year-old murder case, he had been serving life term in a Rajasthan`s Ajmer jail. The apex court had granted bail to Chishti on humanitarian grounds, but had asked him not to leave Ajmer till further orders.

In a personal letter sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month, President Asif Ali Zardari asked for Chishti to be released and repatriated on humanitarian grounds. Zardari had also taken up the issue of Chishti with Singh during a meeting in New Delhi on April 8. Zardari met Singh over lunch while on a day-long private visit to India.