Indian clerics missing in Pakistan: Issue taken up with Pakistan, while family and official sources say intelligence agencies have them

Arkadev Ghoshal
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The case of the two Sufi clerics from India, who have gone missing in Pakistan since March 8, is getting murkier and their relatives believe they have been nabbed by the country's security agencies. On Saturday, reports also quoted official sources as saying that this was the case.

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Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said the Indian High Commission in Pakistan has taken up the matter with Pakistani authorities, while Islamabad is "proactively pursuing" the case, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria was quoted as saying by news agencies. 

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Family members worried

The elder of them, 80-year-old Syed Asif Ali Nizami, is the head priest at New Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, while the younger one, 60-year-old Nazim Nizami, is his nephew. Their relatives have claimed that they have been detained by Pakistani intelligence agencies. "Nizal Ali was detained at the Lahore airport itself while Asif Ali was allowed to travel to Karachi but he never came out of the airport," Asif Ali's eldest son has said. 

However, there is no word on why — if at all — they have been detained. After all, this is hardly the first time they had travelled to Pakistan or had met people from the country. As Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar tweeted late on Friday night: "I met one of these gentlemen at the Nizamuddin dargah in Delhi last year. Pakistanis in general hold all Sufi descendants in high esteem."

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Sushma Swaraj takes stock

Swaraj, in a series of tweets on Saturday, said: "The Indian High Commission in Pakistan has taken up the matter of missing Indians Syed Asif Ali Nizami and Nazim Ali Nizami at the highest level in the Government of Pakistan." 

She added: "We have also contacted their host in Karachi who appears to be under pressure not to speak to the Indian High Commission. I am in constant touch with our High Commission. However, there is no official confirmation regarding their whereabouts. We are pursuing this further with the Government of Pakistan."

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