Pakistani doctor Khalil Chishti returns home from India

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

A Pakistani doctor, who spent 20 years in detention in India, has returned to a hero's welcome in Pakistan.

Khalil Chishti, 80, flew home in an aircraft sent by Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday night.

He was met on arrival in Islamabad by Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other officials.

The scientist spent 14 months in an Indian jail for a 1992 murder. Last month, the Supreme court granted him bail on humanitarian grounds.

Chishti has always denied the murder charge and says he was framed.

As he was brought out of the airport in a wheel chair, Chishti was showered with rose petals by activists of the governing Pakistan Peoples Party, the BBC's Hafeez Chachar reports from Islamabad.

Some of them waved party flags and chanted slogans praising President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for facilitating Chishti's return, our correspondent says.

Speaking to reporters, Chishti said he had lost all hopes about returning home.

He said he was grateful to President Zardari for his efforts in bringing him back.

President Zardari had raised the issue of Chishti's release at his lunch meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a private visit to India in April.

Last week, India's Supreme Court allowed him to visit Pakistan, but ordered him to return to India to attend his next court hearing on 20 November.

Chishti was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2011 for killing a man after a fight in the Indian town of Ajmer in 1992.

He was found guilty after an unusually long 18-year trial during which he was put under house arrest.

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