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‘Missing’ Indian clerics surface in Karachi

Updated Mar 19, 2017 08:02am

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KARACHI: Two prominent Indian clerics, who had gone missing a few days ago, arrived in Karachi after visiting some remote parts of Sindh, it emerged on Saturday.

According to sources, Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the custodian of Delhi’s Nizamuddin Auliya shrine, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, had travelled to the interior of Sindh to visit some acquaintances.

The sources explained that the clerics might have lost contact with their worried relatives because there was no mobile phone coverage in the area they had visited. “They have returned to Karachi,” said a source.

However, the Indian clerics — or their relatives — could not be contacted for comment in Karachi.

A Times of India report said the duo was expected to leave for India on Monday (tomorrow).

The report added that Islamabad had also informed New Delhi that the two “missing clerics have been traced and are now in Karachi”.

Earlier in the day, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted that she had spoken to Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz regarding the “missing” Indian nationals and he had promised her “all help in tracing” them.

Describing the elder Nizami as the head priest of the Nizamuddin Aulia shrine, Indian media reported that he and his nephew had left for Pakistan on March 8 to visit relatives in Karachi. They arrived in Lahore on March 13 and visited the shrine of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj in Pakpattan. The two had reportedly gone missing on March 14 from Lahore airport.

On March 16, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said India had requested assistance for the recovery of the clerics. He said the request had been forwarded to the interior ministry which was looking into the matter.

On Saturday, Indian media reported that the two clerics were in the custody of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies over suspicion of links with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Press Trust of India ran a story stating that the two clerics were offloaded from a Karachi-bound Shaheen Airlines flight at Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore, on March 14 and were detained and interrogated “for their alleged links with the MQM of Altaf Hussain”.

On Friday, Sindh police chief A.D. Khowaja told reporters that the foreign security cell of the Special Branch had no record of the arrival of the Indian clerics. A top-ranking police official told Dawn on Saturday that police were clueless about the disappearance and return of the Indian clerics.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2017

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Comments (67) Closed



Ind Mar 19, 2017 08:13am

Wrong place at the wrong time.

Ajnabi Mar 19, 2017 08:10am

Pilgrimage turned into horror.

Badri Mar 19, 2017 08:18am

Indians have to be careful when making visit to Pakistan. Can be subjected to anything.

Observer Mar 19, 2017 08:20am

This hatered has not spared even the clerics of one the most revered and respected Sufi shrines in south Asia.

jalaluddin S. Hussain Mar 19, 2017 08:30am

Pakistan is making itself more and more unreliable and not giving correct information. It is not good for building up credibility.

Syed dani ahmed Mar 19, 2017 08:30am

No harm no foul.

Sohail Mar 19, 2017 08:31am

Indian media is such a joke it's not even funny anymore.

TEJA Mar 19, 2017 08:38am

All well that ends well. Now come home fast.

Think Mar 19, 2017 08:46am

God bless all....Have beautiful Sunday..

Girish Mar 19, 2017 09:05am

The story was broken too late.

There was no traceability until Ms.Sushma Swaraj intervened.

Imtiaz Mar 19, 2017 09:08am

not safe here for the clerics

Vimal Mar 19, 2017 09:21am

Let us hear them at a press conference in Delhi

guzniabbas Mar 19, 2017 09:25am

Well, the story seems coconuted, as in this age of communication it seems highly unlikely. To me, it is funny.

point of view Mar 19, 2017 10:15am

So Pakistani intelligence agencies taken out needed information from these clergies.

Mann Mar 19, 2017 10:30am

These clerics should stay home. Should not be visiting Pakistan. It is not a welcoming place for Indians.

AhMAd Mar 19, 2017 10:27am

@Sohail What are you telling this world is that in Pakistan only Karachi has mobile network? Clerics could only contact relatives after reaching Karachi? Let them speak then it would be more clear what actually happened.

K. K. Malpathak Mar 19, 2017 10:35am

The tale of the missing clerics and surfacing getting curiouser and curiouser.

Samir,India Mar 19, 2017 10:40am

Lucky ones to be found safe. Good job Sushmaji.

Indian Mar 19, 2017 10:51am

@Vimal

Let us hear them at a press conference in Delhi

They may not say anything as it may put their relatives and friends living in Pakistan at risk.

reality Mar 19, 2017 10:52am

We lost our pigeons and they are in search of their clerics....!

deva Mar 19, 2017 10:53am

indian needs to keep an eye on them

KK Mar 19, 2017 10:50am

Don't worry, truth will be known once they arrive in India. Good thing is that they are safe.

Potya Mar 19, 2017 11:02am

Well, It's good !!! They should know what pakistan is all about ..

Romeo Mar 19, 2017 11:00am

@Mann, yes you are right, those so called clerics with dubious plan with intent to destabilise and create havoc in Pakistan should stay home. They are not welcome in Pakistan. While genuine and friendly visitors are always welcome to visit Pakistan and be our guest.

Omair Mar 19, 2017 11:03am

Doesn't sound right

rich Mar 19, 2017 11:20am

they owe their lfe to susma swaraj, if she had not called surely they would not have been found

AmiT Mar 19, 2017 11:21am

One tweet from sushma swaraj and they are traced immediately

amumiya Mar 19, 2017 11:31am

also compensate them for loss of their mobiles .what? they haven't reported the theft of mobiles in pakistan ?

vorshal Mar 19, 2017 11:31am

@Sohail -- Likewise, it is not funny anymore!

Ali Mar 19, 2017 12:14pm

@rich ... It makes me laugh on the fact that you think Shushma Raj has influence on our foreign minister !!

Indian media is already making cob webs of the story, i think they shouldn't sensationalize everything and not mislead the public. And i would advise our Indian neighbors to analyse the facts rationally and don't jump to conclusions !

Abhimanue Mar 19, 2017 12:19pm

Hmm looks like tintin comics story . Any way all is well thats ens is well but not possibile without phone call from sushma swaraj

Sugarush Mar 19, 2017 12:45pm

Even if the area they visited lacks proper mobile coverage, someone will have landline access. And who goes without calling their close family and relatives while abroad. Something stinks and its not the fish.

Muaaz Mar 19, 2017 01:14pm

Worshipping dead people since forever. Came to visit a shrine? Why do you even bother printing such news

mEHAK GULAB Mar 19, 2017 01:24pm

Fishy incident indeed... But... I do agree with the comment: "something stinks and indeed that's not fish".

Syed Ahmed Mar 19, 2017 01:25pm

Thanks for nothing happens to them ,might be there media have something say nagitiv about Pakistan

Surya Kant Agrawal Mar 19, 2017 01:25pm

Old people with failing memories and errand ways should not visit foreign land.

Wajid Mar 19, 2017 01:42pm

Book him for not registering in the Police station and not showing up to police before travelling to the place where he initially registered.

jaydeep Mar 19, 2017 01:44pm

@guzniabbas I agree with you .

Desi Dimag Mar 19, 2017 01:55pm

Did they finish the job in Pakistan what they went for?

Shahid Manzoor Mar 19, 2017 02:09pm

I hope someone will ask them why did they not register with local police station and why were they visiting a place for which they were not issued the visa. This is the standard procedure for visitors from both countries

Senthil Mar 19, 2017 02:08pm

Is there a tunnel from Lahore airport to remote part of Sindh.

Indian Mar 19, 2017 02:14pm

@Wajid

Book him for not registering in the Police station and not showing up to police before travelling to the place where he initially registered.

This will expose your own agencies. Do you really want to do that?

flipflop Mar 19, 2017 11:58pm

There are so many loop holes in the story and only clerics can tell the right story unless they lie then its a different story. Also, I thought people when they visit either countries must register themselves at the police station and can not leave a particular city unless cleared, at least this is what I have been told and if this is the case then there's something different going on. Nevertheless, the good thing is that these clerics are safe and are moving of their own accord. News channels in India should be careful when publishing news because right now no one knows if there's some sort of foul play and it might paint a wrong picture and if it does then will India take responsibility and apologize ?

Hafeez, Canada Mar 20, 2017 12:17am

Well done Pakistan check every soul. Remember Ajit Doel stayed at Data Darbar for many years as Murid???

Nida Mar 20, 2017 12:27am

Wow! Indian media is shouting this since last four days ! And intelligence wing of Sindh police have no clue till dawn published it. Two important Indians book a flight from Lahore to Karachi, whether they land in karachi or not, intelligence wing have no clue !

Ramadosa Mar 20, 2017 01:02am

@Girish : But Robina and her daughter did not contact Sushma the ever-helpful 'Lady of Perpetual Help'-why? Robina did NOT have to rot in detention for FIVE years. I hope her daughter was able to go to Kindy or school!

aga Khan Mar 20, 2017 01:44am

80 years old cleric travelled to the remote areas? Very interesting to note. God bless for his physical health.

aga Khan Mar 20, 2017 01:46am

@Romeo; Yes, the guy/office issued them the visa- should be fired right away.

Fazal Karim Mar 20, 2017 06:21am

Visit visa is given to certain places mentioned in the visa document. If the maulanas have tress passed visa condition they can be detained. Generally people of 65 years and more are exempted from reporting in cities they visit, They are however registered at the port of entry. The person who reported their missing should be questioned.

Komal s Mar 20, 2017 06:38am

One person went missing in Lahore airport and another in Karachi airport. Now how did both magically appear in remote part of Sind!

Tariq Pirzada Mar 20, 2017 07:08am

CLERIC : the term is never used for the descendant or spiritual guide/leader of a great Sufi saint. It has an altogether meaning. The incident has left a bad taste, and should not have taken place.

FAZ Mar 20, 2017 07:15am

@Senthil No there are roads. But if you don't charge your cell and your last signal is from Lahore, it may appear that way..

baba Mar 20, 2017 07:42am

You never know when and where you can be abducted.. better to be careful while roaming around.

baba Mar 20, 2017 07:44am

Indians need to be very careful while going to Pakistan, you never know when and where you could be abducted. They are those rare lucky to get back safe.

Abdulla hussain Mar 20, 2017 07:59am

Now that it is clear that the cleric had travelled to remote areas of Sindh on his own accord and then returned to Karschi, the authority should check whether he had visa to travel to such areas.

Pavan Mar 20, 2017 03:46pm

Simply its result of media exaggeration

Uday Kulkarni Mar 20, 2017 03:58pm

@AmiT - Read the version of the two clerics in the Indian media and TV all over since morning and it will be clear what really happened

jayesh Mar 20, 2017 04:01pm

@Girish YESS. ALL THANKS TO OUR EXTERNAL MINISTER SUSHMA SWARAJJI.

Musa Mar 20, 2017 04:10pm

@Sohail really? how can people go missing for 2 weeks?

Ashok Saigal Mar 20, 2017 04:31pm

According to the concerned Sufi leaders, they never went to Sindh, but were detained by .."a Pakistani Law Enforcement agency.." for questioning. The report of their having visited Sindh and so were out of communication range is obviously intended to cover up the fact that they were held incommunicado, and perhaps against established procedure were not allowed even a single phone call to inform anyone of their plight/circumstances.

Dr. B. N . Anand Mar 20, 2017 04:41pm

Is there any part of Pakistan so remote that no signal is available for a person to be in touch with each other? . When these clerics, reach Karachi, only then they are able to be again in touch with outside world.

Indian4RMBLORE Mar 20, 2017 09:22pm

Very sad,

Bupi Mar 20, 2017 10:39pm

@Imtiaz
Time will tell Truth

Khwarizmi Mar 21, 2017 04:06am

He was NEVER missing to begin with. Please stop this nonsence. It's just creating bad PR for our country.

flipflop Mar 21, 2017 10:47am

@Dr. B. N . Anand last time I checked, there are signals everywhere in Pakistan. This only shows that the clerics took a detour by themselves. Maybe they are hiding something or maybe they thought nothing will happen. Journalist in India were quick to judge and only posted a story which could only leave a bad taste in mouth and inciting hate and that is exactly what happened as many people from India has been bad mouthing Pakistan in the comment section. This shows that majority of the news in India is published on false ground inciting nothing but hate. I am glad that they are safe and returned home safely.

Kabilan c p Mar 21, 2017 11:34am

// clerics might have lost contact with their worried relatives because there was no mobile phone coverage in the area they had visited.//

Very Strange. If Pakistanis are convinced on this reply, I am OK and happy for safe arrival of our Citizens.

pakistani Mar 22, 2017 04:13pm

Great now the Indians will make a movie out of it. How the two Indian clerics fled the clutches of Pakistan's secret service and escaped to India. And the gullible Indian public will readily believe it.