The 82-year-old Pakistani microbiologist, who has spent the past 20 years on Indian soil embroiled in a murder case, will finally be able to set foot in his own country, with the Supreme Court on Thursday granting him permission to make a visit on condition that he return by November 1.

Mohammad Khalil Chishti will also have to furnish a security deposit of Rs. 5 lakh within two weeks and surrender his passport to the Indian High Commission on reaching Karachi.

“He knows his appeal will come up in November, we will permit him to visit his country within that time,” said the court, promising to expedite the hearing of his appeal against his conviction in the 1992 murder case.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J. Chelameswar pondered over but dismissed a suggestion by Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the Centre, that Dr. Chishti's local contacts be made responsible to secure his presence, by giving a surety to the court.

Dr. Chishti had come to Ajmer in 1992 to visit his ailing mother. A fight broke out in his brother's house and Dr. Chishti was caught in the middle of the sudden spurt in violence. A relative died in the incident.

Dr. Chishti fought legal battles for the next 20 years in the Ajmer trial court and then in the Rajasthan High Court. The Supreme Court finally granted him bail early last month, with instructions to remain in Ajmer.

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