The two missing Indian clerics of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah have been “traced and have reached Karachi”, Pakistan conveyed to India on Saturday.
“Pakistan Foreign Office has confirmed that the two Indian clerics have been traced and reached Karachi,” a source said in New Delhi.
The confirmation came after external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz, regarding the case. Aziz is in London currently.
The clerics – 82-year-old Asif Ali Nizami, head priest of the dargah, and his 66-year-old nephew Nizal Ali Nizami – were reportedly found in Sindh after disappearing. The two men were on a pilgrimage in Pakistan when their families lost contact with them.
While the details remain unclear, Swaraj made a strong pitch to Aziz for tracing the clerics.
“I spoke to Mr. Sartaj Aziz Pakistan PM's Adviser on foreign affairs regarding missing Indian nationals,” she posted on Twitter on Saturday evening.
Officials say the clerics were traced soon after this call.
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 tell their relatives about there whereabouts. They will leave for India on March 20.
Earlier reports said the men were feared to have been taken into custody by intelligence agencies or kidnapped by a militant group.
The Nizamis reached Pakistan on March 4 to visit several shrines and relatives. They reportedly visited the dargah of Khwaja Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar (popularly known as Baba Farid) at Pakpattan, some 160 km from Lahore, on March 13. The next day, they visited the Data Darbar dargah in Lahore.
On Thursday, shortly after posting pictures of their visit to the Datta Darbar, they disappeared from the airport.
The Indian High Commission in Pakistan had taken up the matter at the highest level in the Pakistani government.
(With PTI inputs)