Indian sufi clerics blame Pakistani newspaper for their troubles

Published March 21, 2017
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Syed Asif Ali Nizami (right) and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami on their return from Pakistan to Delhi on Monday.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets Syed Asif Ali Nizami (right) and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami on their return from Pakistan to Delhi on Monday.

NEW DELHI: A little-known Urdu newspaper in Pakistan had accused two Indian sufi clerics of being RAW agents thus getting them into trouble with intelligence sleuths who wanted to know the truth, the men said in Delhi on Monday.

Syed Asif Nizami and Nazim Nizami, who went missing in Lahore, returned to New Delhi on Monday.

According to The Hindu, the clerics blamed a Pakistani newspaper for the whole episode without going into details.

The newspaper had apparently reported that the clerics worked for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Muttahida Qaumi Move­ment, following which they were questioned by a Pakistan law enforcement agency, The Hindu said.

Refusing to say which agency questioned them, the clerics said no coercion or force was used.

Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the head priest (sajjada nashin) of the Nizamuddin Aulia shrine, and his nephew, Nazim Ali Nizami, had gone to Pakistan on March 8 and were to return to India on March 20.

The purpose of the visit of the 80-year-old Asif Ali to Pakistan was to see his sister in Karachi.

On Saturday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to Sartaj Aziz, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs, regarding the case.

According to Pakistani media reports, both clerics had been in “interior Sindh where there was no communication network”, and thus could not tell their relatives about their whereabouts.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017

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