Missing Indian clerics in Pak return home

NEW DELHI
20 Mar 2017

The head priest of Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and his nephew returned to the capital today, days after they went missing in Pakistan, but were not forthcoming about their mysterious disappearance. 80-year-old Syed Asif Nizami, Sajjadanashin of the holy shrine, and another senior Sufi cleric Nazim Ali Nizami landed here by a Pakistan International Airlines flight and later called on external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj who had taken up their case with Islamabad. Though the two clerics revealed little about their ordeal, Sajid Nizami, son of Asif Nizami, alleged that the duo were "taken away" based on a news report in a Karachi-based Urdu daily which claimed that they had links with Indian intelligence agency RAW. When asked about reports that both of them could not be contacted as they were in interior Sindh where there was no communication network, Nazim Ali Nizami strongly rejected the claim. "We did not have visa for Sindh interior region, so how could we have gone there? The reports that we could not be contacted because of network issue is totally false," he told reporters. On whether they were detained by Pakistani authorities, Sajid said "Yes". Asked if Pakistan spy agency ISI was involved in the episode and whether they were harassed, Sajid refused to comment but made it clear that "no force or coercion was used" against them. (PTI)