India grants bail to Pakistan doctor Khalil Chishti

Khalil Chishti (Photo: Deepak Sharma)
Image caption Khalil Chishti has been in jail or in detention in India for 20 years

India's Supreme Court has freed on bail an 80-year-old Pakistani doctor convicted for a 1992 murder.

But the court ordered virologist Khalil Chishti not to leave India until it had decided on his appeal.

Chishti was convicted in January 2011 by a trial court for a 1992 murder in Ajmer and sentenced to a life term.

The court found him guilty of killing a man after a fight, a charge he denies. The Rajasthan high court later upheld his conviction.

Chishti applied for bail in the Supreme Court, saying that he was 80 and in poor health. He has a heart condition and is wheelchair bound.

He requested the court to allow him to return home to Karachi or be allowed to live in Delhi because of family feuds in Ajmer.

The court ordered him to surrender his passport and remain in Ajmer until further orders.

The doctor, who was born in the Indian city of Ajmer, was in Pakistan at the time of the partition in 1947 and did not return until 1992 when he came to visit his ailing mother.

He was convicted last year after an 18-year-long trial during which he was put under house arrest and not allowed to leave Ajmer.

Several human rights groups have been campaigning for his return to Karachi.

Reports say President Asif Ali Zardari raised the issue of Chishti's release at his lunch meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday.