In a letter, the octogenarian apologises for remarks he made after his release

Pakistani prisoner Khaleel Chisti, who was released by the order of the Supreme Court of India earlier, boarded a flight for his country from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi on Tuesday night. He was accompanied by his son Tariq.

The Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, which had taken care of his stay in the Indian capital after his arrival from Ajmer by train on Monday night, completed all the formalities of his travel during the day though no one was allowed to meet him.

In fact, Dr. Chisti's whereabouts were not known to his Indian supporters once he was ‘handed over” to the Pakistani authorities in Delhi. “Dr. Chisti's son just rang me up to say that they were at the airport,” said social activist Kavita Srivastava, who escorted the octogenarian from Ajmer to Delhi, talking to The Hindu around 9 p.m.

“I went to the Pakistan Embassy during the day to hand over some belongings of Dr. Chisti. There were three of his diaries containing his poems and random thoughts during the incarceration. One of them he wanted me to keep with myself,” Ms. Srivastava said.

Prior to his departure, Dr. Chisti passed on a message through Ms. Srivastava, thanking his “Indian friends” and apologising to “Indian citizens.” The letter said: “As I make my way home after 20 years I would like to thank everyone who made this day possible for me. I deeply appreciate all your support and efforts to help me; without you I may not have lived to see this day.

“I am grateful to the Indian Supreme Court for allowing me to return home for five months and for expediting the special leave petition which is scheduled for hearing on the 20 of November 2012. I look forward to returning as ordered by the Supreme Court of India and having my name exonerated. Also I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all those concerned over some remarks that were made by me during an interview after my release from prison. I wish to clarify that I did not mean to be disrespectful to the Indian Judiciary. I am a law-abiding man with utmost respect for the Judiciary. If my remarks hurt anyone please accept my deepest apology.” Three days back, Amna Chisti, daughter of the virologist, had, in a communication, thanked the Supreme Court and all the human rights activists who had been campaigning for Dr. Chisti's release for the past one year.

“At this time we would like to thank the honourable Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Chelameswar for their compassionate and humanitarian judgment,” her message said.

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