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Missing Nizamuddin clerics back home, blame Pak newspaper for calling them spies

The two clerics of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah who had gone missing in Pakistan landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday.

delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2017 22:10 IST
Parvez Sultan
Parvez Sultan
Hindustan Times
Missing clerics,Delhi clerics,Pakistan
Asif Nizami, the head priest, and his nephew Nazim Nizami reached the Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah soon after they arrived at IGIA on Monday. (HT Photo)

Two Sufi clerics of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi, who had gone missing in Pakistan last week, blamed a Pakistani newspaper for publishing a misleading article that had led to their ordeal. The duo arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Monday and went to pay obeisance at the shrine where they spoke to media.
They are scheduled to meet external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at 2pm.

Syed Asif Nizami, 82, and Nazim Ali Nizami, 66, are members of the family of the Sajjada Nashin (hereditary administrators) of the shrine. Officials of home ministry met the two clerics after they returned to Delhi on Monday.

Asif Nizami said that ‘Ummat’ a Pakistani publication by Jamat e-islami had allegedly carried a misleading report about them and indicated that it had landed them in trouble. “Pakistani newspapers carried a report saying Nizamis are working for Indian intelligence agency,” said Sajid Nizami, son of Asif Nizami.

Asif Nizami, the head priest, and his nephew Nazim Nizami had gone on pilgrimage to Pakistan on March 8. They were reported missing on Thursday (March 16) after their families were unable to contact them.

On Saturday, Swaraj had spoken to Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, regarding the case. Later in the day, Pakistan conveyed to India that the two missing clerics had been “traced” and that they had reached Karachi.

On Sunday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to them. “I just spoke to Syed Nazim Ali Nizami in Karachi. He told me that they are safe and will be back in Delhi tomorrow (Monday),” she said in a tweet.

According to media reports in Pakistan, the clerics had been in “interior Sindh where there was no communication network” and thus 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).

The clerics were offloaded from Karachi-bound Shaheen Airlines on March 14 at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, sources claimed.

First Published: Mar 20, 2017 11:20 IST