2 missing Sufi clerics located: Pakistan foreign ministry tells India

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Two Indian Sufi clerics, who went missing while on a visit to Pakistan, have been located, the Pakistan foreign ministry has conveyed to the Indian high commission in Islamabad, a person familiar with the developments said Saturday.

Pakistan foreign ministry

The disappearance of the two clerics—from the Hazrat Nizammuddin Dargah in New Delhi—after their arrival in Pakistan had been raised by the Indian authorities with Pakistan’s high commission in New Delhi as well as by the Indian high commission in Islamabad with the Pakistani foreign office.

According to news reports, the two clerics had been detained in Pakistan on account of their “suspicious” movements.

Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had also spoken to Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the Pakistan prime minister on foreign affairs on the matter.

The two clerics have now been allowed to proceed to Karachi to meet their relatives, the person familiar with the development cited above said.

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In a series of tweets early on Friday, Swaraj said that the two Indian nationals Syed Asif Ali Nizami, 80, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on 8 March 2017 and “both are missing after they landed at Karachi airport.”

According to news reports, while one of the clerics had been allowed to go to Karachi to visit relatives, the second had been stopped at the Lahore airport on grounds of incomplete travel papers. While one of the clerics went missing from Lahore airport, the second went missing after arriving at the Karachi airport, one of the news reports cited above had said.

According to government officials in India, exchange visits between clerics of New Delhi’s Nizammuddin Dargah and the Sufi Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore take place regularly.

India and Pakistan are known to detain nationals of the other country on suspicions of spying.

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