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KARACHI: After the Indian external affairs minister made a statement on Sunday about “safety” of the two clerics who had gone missing after arriving in Pakistan last week, one of them told reporters here that he faced no problem during his stay in Pakistan and he would continue to visit the country in future.

Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the custodian of Delhi’s Nizamuddin Auliya shrine, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, were reported “missing” this week. However, they returned to Karachi on Saturday and stayed at the house of their host in Lines Area.

On Sunday morning, Sushma Swaraj, the Indian external affairs minister, tweeted that she had spoken to Nazim Ali Nizami in Karachi and “he told me that they are safe and will be back in Delhi tomorrow”.

Later in the afternoon, the younger Nizami spoke to the media at a religious gathering held at his host’s house and squashed rumours about his and his uncle’s mysterious “disappearance”.

He said they had gone to “an area where [mobile phone] signals were not available”. Absence of communication made people worried and led to rumours that “we have been kidnapped”, Nazim Nizami added.

“We have visa for one month, but we are returning [home] tomorrow (Monday),” he said, adding: “This [religious] gathering has been organised at this Astana-i-Nizamia before our departure so that the people in our circle could attend it.”

He showed copies of their visas, said to be valid for Karachi, Sehwan, Multan, Lahore and Sialkot.

Asked whether he would come to Pakistan again, Nazim Nizami said he would visit here “a thousand times” since the shrines of great Sufi saints like Baba Farid Shakar Ganj were in Pakistan. “I have been visiting [Pakistan] every Muharram for the past 25 years and why I won’t come again as Baba Sahib invites me,” he said, referring to the saint’s Urs in Pakpattan.

The SHO of the Brigade police station visited the house to meet the Indian clerics.

While Ms Swaraj had said in her previous tweets that the duo arrived in Pakistan on March 8, the cleric said that both of them had reached here on March 6.

The Indian media had earlier reported that Asif Nizami and Nazim Nizami visited the shrine of Baba Farid Shakar Ganj in Pakpattan and went missing on March 14 from Lahore airport.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad had sought the Foreign Office’s assistance in tracing the two clerics. The Indian external affairs minister also spoke to Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, and won assurance of his “full support”.

On Saturday, the two clerics surfaced in Karachi and informed the authorities concerned that they had gone to a place in the interior of Sindh where there was no mobile phone coverage.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017

Comments (10) Closed

saudagar Mar 20, 2017 10:51am

indian media goes bananas at times to score brownies ,24/7 flow of masala news for revenues ,vicious cycle indeed !

Concerned Pakistani Mar 20, 2017 11:20am

There seems something fishy. Let them land in India then real stroy will come out.

AhMAd Mar 20, 2017 11:33am

@saudagar "He showed copies of their visas, said to be valid for Karachi, Sehwan, Multan, Lahore and Sialkot." Are these remote places or they could travel wherever they wanted?

“We have visa for one month, but we are returning [home] tomorrow (Monday),” Let them reach India first then if they still give same statement, people will believe.

Nitin Mar 20, 2017 11:52am

Sorry from India and maybe in future you will be having the better mobile connectivity so these kind of problem will not happen.

Kranti Mar 20, 2017 01:56pm

They got good kickbacks for what to do in future...

D.K. PAMNANI Mar 20, 2017 03:39pm

What Happened with them in Pakistan, will come out as and when they are in India.

M.Saeed Mar 20, 2017 05:02pm

@AhMAd: Even in my house in Islamabad, there are no signals on mobile phones due to some technical difficulties arising out of peculiar situation of interfering buildings and other obstructions.

MUHAMMAD Mar 20, 2017 08:50pm

@D.K. PAMNANI, just because they were were in paksitan doesnt mean something bad for sure happened with them. How much hatred do u guys have for us?

baanke khan Mar 21, 2017 06:40am

Nazim Nizami said he would visit here “a thousand times”, then why did he cut his trip very short, this time? Did the covering his face and taking him to an unknown location shook him up?

Huma Mar 22, 2017 10:05am

@Nitin I think Sehwan is the smallest city and it too has mobile coverage. It even has 3G if I remember correctly.