Two Delhi clerics are back home but what happened to them in Pakistan remains a mystery

One of the clerics have denied media reports that they were found in Sindh province

india Updated: Mar 20, 2017 22:10 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian clerics,Missing,Sufi
Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah head priest Syed Asif Nizami (R) and his nephew, Nazim Ali Nizami, before a meeting with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday.(Arun Sharma/HT photo)

The two Indian Muslim clerics who went missing in Pakistan last week, forcing the Indian government to intervene, returned on Monday but what happened to them in the neighbouring country remains a mystery.

Syed Asif Ali Nizami, 82, and his nephew, Nazim Ali Nizami, both clerics of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, reached Delhi in the morning, spend time with their family and also met external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

But, there is still no word on the three days that the men remained untraced.

What is interesting is that they were “found” within two hours of Swaraj calling her Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz on the evening of March 18.

They went missing on March 15 on a visit to Data Darbar in Lahore. They were reported found in a remote village of Sindh province.

Reports later said the village didn’t have cellphone connectivity, the reason why their family in Delhi couldn’t get in touch with them.

Nazim rejected Pakistani media reports that they were in “interior Sindh where there was no communication network”.

“We did not have visa for Sindh interior region, so how could we have gone there? We come from the school of Sufi which teaches peace and brotherhood. There are good and bad elements and those who go against the teachings they have to suffer humiliation,” he told mediapersons.

Syed Asif , who was detained at the Karachi airport, told news agency ANI that he was taken to a place far away from the port city .

When asked why were they “interrogated”, Nazim said they were asked about their visa and other immigration details.

But, sources said, they were being watched by Pakistan agencies.

Both Nazim and Syed Nizami, who is the head priest of the famous Nizamuddin dargah, thanked the governments of both the countries.

“We thank Union home minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and well-wishers from all religions who prayed for our return,” he told reporters.

Asked if the Pakistan’s external spy agency, the ISI, was involved, he refused comment but said “no force was used” against them.

First Published: Mar 20, 2017 17:15 IST