Khalil Chishti, Pakistani doctor, freed by India court

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

The Supreme Court has freed a Pakistani doctor who spent 20 years in jail or detention in India for murder.

Khalil Chishti, 80, can now return home to Pakistan with no restrictions.

The court dropped the murder charge against the scientist and said he had served enough time for his conviction of "causing voluntary harm".

He was allowed to go home in May on humanitarian grounds for six months and returned to India in November with his wife Mehrunissa and son Tariq.

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

On Wednesday, Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi said that as Dr Chishti had already served 14 months in an Indian jail, the "ends of justice will be met by serving him with the period of imprisonment already undergone", the Press Trust of India reported.

The judges also ordered the Indian authorities to return Dr Chishti's passport and to ensure a "smooth return" home for him.

Long trial

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

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

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

In its order in May, the Supreme Court allowed him to visit his home in the Pakistani city of Karachi, but ordered him to return to India to attend his next court hearing on 20 November.

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