Missing Sufi Clerics Will Return on Monday: Sushma Swaraj

The clerics from Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah had reportedly been detained by a Pakistani intelligence agency.

The two Indian Sufi clerics, including the head priest of Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, who went missing in Pakistan will be back in the city on Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday. She will be meeting them after their arrival, she confirmed.

Swaraj had taken up the issue with Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Saturday and requested him to trace the missing clerics.

Syed Asif Nizami, the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, had gone to Lahore on 8 March and were to return to India on 20 March.

The main purpose of the visit of 80-year-old Asif to Pakistan was to see his sister in Karachi.

According to Pakistani media reports, both clerics had been in "interior Sindh where there was no communication network" and that is why they could not inform their relatives about their whereabouts.

Earlier, Pakistani sources had said the two clerics were in the custody of Pakistan's intelligence agency over their alleged links with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

They were offloaded from Karachi-bound Shaheen Airlines on 14 March at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, the Pakistani sources had said.

The clerics reached Karachi on Saturday, ANI reported citing Pakistani media.

Also Read: Pakistan Admits to Detaining Clerics for ‘Unauthorised Movement’

After the news, Aamir Nizami, whose father Asif Nizami is one of the two people who had gone missing, told ANI:

Humari unsey baat nahi hui hai. Bharat sarkar ka bhi phone aaya, shukirya karte hain. Pehle phone switch off aa rha tha, ab bell ja raha hai. Jald hi baat ho jayegi unse. (We haven’t spoken to him yet. We got a call from the Indian government, we would like to thank the government. His phone had been switched off so far, but it’s ringing now. We’ll be able to speak to him soon.) 

The clerics are reported to be safe and are expected to reach India on 20 March.

According to official sources in New Delhi, Asif Nizami, the head priest, and Nazim Nizami had gone to visit the famous Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore and were to catch a flight from there to Karachi on Wednesday.

Asif Nizami’s son Sajid Ali had told reporters that his father went missing at the Karachi Airport while a few others, including Nazim Nizami, were detained at Lahore.

Also Read: Two Missing Sufi Clerics in Custody of Pakistani Intel Agency

(With inputs from PTI)