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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


Comments (111)

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point of view Mar 21, 2017 08:23am

Something fishy.

Asif A Shah Mar 21, 2017 08:30am

The Rule of Law should prevail at all levels. Nobody should be arrested without the due process of law.

Indian Mar 21, 2017 08:46am

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

I hope his sister and her family in Pakistan will be safe.

Desi Dimag Mar 21, 2017 08:49am

I am afraid for Indus water delegation now.

SK Mar 21, 2017 08:56am

This is the mature way to reply to the Press without going into unwarranted details. Otherwise one more controversy concocted by the Media !

And to add to the news they also said that they didn't go where they had no travel visa. And they didn't face any ill-treatment.

Shampee Mar 21, 2017 08:58am

"Interior Sindh has no communication network"

Real indian Mar 21, 2017 08:59am

Somthing may be wrong in this case..

KB Mar 21, 2017 09:01am

Please stay in India.

Vimal Mar 21, 2017 09:29am

The interrogation must have happened in ' interior Sindh'.

TAriq Mar 21, 2017 09:36am

Pakistan should carefully issue VISAS to people who on return blame the country where they are more free then in their own land.

ejaz Mar 21, 2017 09:35am

yah! something very fishy. I am not sure whether they had permission to go interior Sindh.

Arun Mar 21, 2017 09:45am

Pakistan media is as bad as Indian media.

D.K. PAMNANI Mar 21, 2017 09:49am

100% fishy in this case.

Dv Mar 21, 2017 09:51am

Please treat such visitors with respect, this will help to bring the two countries together. The hatred must go.

Ayaz Munir Mar 21, 2017 09:55am

@Indian Yes they are safe, I am an Urdu Speaking whose ancestors came from UP & Bihar, we are very safe here by God's Grace, please stop showing fake worries.

Desi Dimag Mar 21, 2017 09:56am

Thank god their family members raised the concern at the right time and Sushma Swaraj acted quickly.

Ayaz Munir Mar 21, 2017 09:57am

@Desi Dimag My brother, why should they refrain at all?

Thousands of Indians have come to Pakistan annually to meet their relatives, others for Business and religious purposes, Can you name any incidents against them?

Please be factual, Pakistan and India should be good friends, but the ideas you are promoting wont do any good. Please open up your mind to realities brother.

Peace

Observer Mar 21, 2017 10:10am

@ejaz than why a case was not registered against them in the first place?

Sajid Mar 21, 2017 10:09am

They are more than welcome to visit Pakistan. They created issue for themselves, Sister in Karachi and they were found in interior Sind, Why ?? Should have informed about their plans like any mature person would if they were to go to places where there is no communication network.

AJS Mar 21, 2017 10:15am

Where is that "Interior Sindh". That's why govts. never want to develop some areas. This is hilarious..

jamshed Mar 21, 2017 10:15am

@Indian After BJP win in UP we Pakistanis are worried about 40 million Muslims in UP and another 140 million elsewhere in India.

jamshed Mar 21, 2017 10:14am

@Shampee It is like Bihar !!

vijay,salem Mar 21, 2017 10:36am

"interior Sindh where there was no communication network”.Really?

AhMAd Mar 21, 2017 10:39am

@jamshed Bihar GDP is about 40% if whole Pakistan's GDP.

Desi Dimag Mar 21, 2017 10:38am

@jamshed It is like Bihar !!

Bihar has network everywhere.

south Asia Mar 21, 2017 10:37am

@jamshed Bihar has communication network, rail factories..also we have free 4G so. Never Mind.

Ahmed Mar 21, 2017 10:39am

indians are issues visas to certain cities and not the entire country. So for example, an indian wishing to visit Pakistan could be issued a visa to Karachi, Hyderabad and Nawabshah but is not allowed to goto any other city within Pakistan. This is how Pakistanis are also granted visas to india

I have a strong feeling that these indian guys must have gone to certain cities which they were not allowed to visit (did not have visas) and thereby triggered an alarm which very rightly got the intelligence agencies involved

Sonu Mar 21, 2017 10:46am

@jamshed Every part of Bihar is well connected. Forget just phone connectivity, post jio even the interior parts of Bihar have 4G, and considering road, rail and air connectivity even Bihar is much more developed then any state in pakistan !

Anonymous Mar 21, 2017 10:53am

@TAriq All Indian citizens enjoy the same amount of freedom irrespective of their faith.

Sonu Mar 21, 2017 10:55am

@TAriq Wow some serious illogical hatred there !! Get well soon brother and spread peace. Good that clerics didn't involved in blame games and maturity prevailed.

Vardan Mar 21, 2017 10:59am

This is how they treat their guests.

south Asia Mar 21, 2017 11:08am

@Sonu Thank god and BJP foreign minister the clerics returned to their home country safely.

Sonu Mar 21, 2017 11:13am

In India you will get mobile signal even in remote villages.

N.S Mar 21, 2017 11:17am

@Ahmad If the GDP of Bihar is 40% of Pakistan, it's population is also 60% of Pakistan at 12 crore or so. So overall per capita GDP is less than Pakistan.

That hypothesis about interior Sindh was raised earlier, later denied as the clerics accepted that they were apprehended and queried, interior Sindh do has mobile penetration and internet access of course. BTW 95% of Pakistan has mobile penetration area wise, in India it is less than that.

Hemu Mar 21, 2017 11:17am

Love the humbleness of sushma ji for fellow citizens, she is due diligent to to his work as external minister. Her Kidneys transplant have not stop her to continue work. Hatsoff for your commitment for Indians....

Khalid S Mar 21, 2017 11:21am

@Sonu They were not in interior Sindh and that media report was wrong. They were questioned for a while and released in Karachi...that is the whole story. Interior Sindh, remote areas do have mobile penetration.

That story about them going to interior Sindh was wrong and media speculation.

Shah Mar 21, 2017 11:22am

Well done Agencies to check out any suspicious activity. We have suffered a lot.

Hamid Mar 21, 2017 11:37am

@Sonu In Pakistan too you gets mobile signals in remote areas, including interior Sindh. That reports about the clerics were in interior Sindh and could not be in contact was wrong.

They were questioned by the LEA's.

VJ@India Mar 21, 2017 11:46am

@TAriq very funny...In India Muslim Men and Women enjoys all rights that we and any other community enjoys and trust me they are living in far better and free society than any other part of world..

VJ@India Mar 21, 2017 11:48am

@jamshed dont worry they are living in far better and sane society..

TAMZA Mar 21, 2017 11:51am

@Vardan guests dont go to rooms of hosts and do unknown actions.

SURYA KANT AGRAWAL Mar 21, 2017 11:54am

Thank God, they are back to their country and safe

south Asia Mar 21, 2017 12:01pm

@TAMZA Exactly, they had valid permits to travel there.

Raju Mar 21, 2017 12:03pm

Interior Sindh has no communication network

Concerned Mar 21, 2017 12:13pm

@Indian pakistan is a safe country

south Asia Mar 21, 2017 12:21pm

@Raju It is due to the absence of any solid industrial base like India. We have a strong and aggressive industrial base.

Vasan Mar 21, 2017 12:40pm

There are lot of family connections between India and Pakistan. Many visit both countries everyday. I feel someone in Pakistan badly messed up in this case. And anxiety increased when their communication cut off in the remote part of Pakistan. All authorities should respect senior citizens visiting, and there is nothing wrong asking for anyone ID proof, but they are foreigners, should be treated in a respectful way, so that will be happy to visit and promote the peace and culture between countries. After all they are the high level delegates working without the cost of the country. This should be out of politics, and let us treat and respect our elders visiting from any side. I would be happy to welcome any senior citizens coming to India, i don't care for any reason, i don't care where is comes from. We will make sure he goes back happy heart and talk about our hospitality. I have known from other friends who visited Pakistan that Pakistanis also treat Indians well.

RICH Mar 21, 2017 12:51pm

u know i nver liked susna swarj, especially the way she acted when bjp lost to congress, in the last loksabha election , but after the bjp win and she is made a minister now she is truly great

it shows we must not rush to judge people

she is very active for all hindus, muslims christian, sikhs ect

a truly proud catholic indian of my govt and my country

god bless us all , and our neighbours too

Baba ladla Mar 21, 2017 12:49pm

Now Pakistan arrests 80 yr old foreigner without warrant? Disturbing

Mr Satyabrat D Singh Mar 21, 2017 12:57pm

@jamshed Bihar has Vodafone Airtel idea no connection issues atleast

Onlooker (Sydney) Mar 21, 2017 01:02pm

@TAMZA Can you elaborate what unknown action has done by an 80 year old man. Forget about his nationality and religion, at least respect his age.

Sanjeev Mar 21, 2017 01:03pm

"No force was used" Wonder what force they wanted to use on a 80 year old.

akshay Mar 21, 2017 01:09pm

@jamshed We are all Indians first.

Any such concerns for Muslims in China ? Also, Muslims in India have made their decision, they really do not need your concerns.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 21, 2017 01:07pm

@Ayaz Munir well said always stand up against negativity and hate. Thank you dost for you sane words. Love you brother.

Gambit Mar 21, 2017 01:16pm

This is actually reality of India and Pakistan. Most common people of both county care Very little for war. But authority and media keep on creating war like situation and sounding horns every time.

timetostopthis Mar 21, 2017 01:25pm

No internet connection in all of interior Sindh. Shocking in this day and age.

timetostopthis Mar 21, 2017 01:31pm

Have some respect for their age atleast if nothing else. Shameful to treat peaceful sufi clerics in that way.

N.Sid Mar 21, 2017 01:32pm

@timetostopthis You and many got it wrong. Interior Sindh do have mobile and internet penetration, this wrong news was based on the earlier media reports about they being in the interior while actually they were queried.

Mahmood Mar 21, 2017 01:58pm

A page borrowed from the Trump book. Heep the reasons for all your shortcomings, paranoia, failures onto somebody else - Democrats, Media, Muslims, Mexicans, Chinese and who ever you can think of.

Look in the mirror. You will find the enemy within!

@ABD Mar 21, 2017 02:33pm

@Ayaz Munir Exactly, This is the incident...:-|

Adeel Mar 21, 2017 03:22pm

@Vardan at least their faces weren't painted black nor were they asked to leave the country

vorshal Mar 21, 2017 03:41pm

Shameful indeed!

Cepc Mar 21, 2017 03:52pm

@jamshed please first cared about yourself. Go read latest report of BBC world news "who is most corrupt political party in world."

And BJP has won even those areas where Muslim populations more than Hindu. Go on Quora and read about how Indian Muslim are living.

skumar Mar 21, 2017 03:59pm

thanks to Sushma swarajji . Both of them are elderly ,learned men and deserve only respect and kindness. All is well that ends well.

Khwarizmi Mar 21, 2017 03:59pm

@Indian Hehe I just love it when Indians use reverse psycology. She is a Pakistani and was safe, is safe and will remain safe. Please have some mercy on the Kashmiris who are being killed on daily basis by a brutal occupation force.

Khwarizmi Mar 21, 2017 03:56pm

@Dv You know very well the issue between Pakistan and India is not a Muslim-Muslim issue. Your thought process is flawed.

SID Mar 21, 2017 04:09pm

@Hamid If they were questioned , Pakistani authority should have immediately informed Indian Embassy about these people . These people are not visiting Pakistan for first time & they know where they are going .

SID Mar 21, 2017 04:12pm

@N.Sid If they were questioned , then why didn't Pakistani authority informed Indian embassy about that ?

Shawn Mar 21, 2017 04:12pm

@Asif A Shah it doesnt apply top espionage any where in the world it is an act of war usually

DK Mar 21, 2017 04:12pm

@TAriq Stop dreaming and live in real world. They do roam as a free like they do in your countrytry. Limited knowledge is way to dangerous than having none so think before writing any non related thing.

Dr. B. N . Anand Mar 21, 2017 04:28pm

According to clerics, they did not have a visa to visit Sindh, then how the reports in Pakistan media that clerics had gone in the interior of this province where there was no mobile connectivity can be accepted. Something more fishy. Let the truth come out.

Amir Mar 21, 2017 04:39pm

confusing. Where did they disappear to?

V C BHUTANI Mar 21, 2017 04:48pm

I have heard from my friends who have visited Pakistan that under Pakistan's laws, a foreign visitor can enter Pakistan from any point by land or by air and return via the same place. Besides, I am told visa is specific about which places the visitor can go to. Naturally, any foreign visitor should follow Pakistan's laws. I have not visited Pakistan any time. Before my time is up, I hope to see the city of my birth, Rawalpindi, where I was born in 1939 and where I remained until October 1947 before taking a train to India from Chaklala.

Shan Mar 21, 2017 04:55pm

If these guys had visited U.S. They would have been detained. And people in the comments section would have praised U.S for protecting and ensuring security for it's citizens. Since it's Pakistan everyone is complaining.

N.Sid Mar 21, 2017 05:01pm

@V C BHUTANI You are absolutely right. There are so many stories about people crossing borders on both sides and your story being a native of Rawalpindi is truly nostalgic.

You can see a lot of picture of Rawalpindi here in this blog below. Many new towns added like Bahria Town, but old Rawalpindi hasn't changed much. Chaklala is at the center stage...

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=298073&page=37

Taimoor khan Mar 21, 2017 05:15pm

Better safe then sorry. Any suspicion arising for any individual of having association with organization must be investigated.

Rehan Mar 21, 2017 05:43pm

@jamshed Thanks for your concern , every human should be concerned about each other irrespective of religion . Furhter for your information , minority population of India as increased post partition but its the opposite in Pakistan .

Raja Farhat Abbas Mar 21, 2017 05:58pm

@VJ@India ..You can fool some people some of the time but you can not fool all the people all of the time so stop peddling your opinion as a fact.We know how your Indian Muslims live in India and how free they are.

B.patel. USA Mar 21, 2017 06:12pm

Sushma Swaraj, the foreign minister in BJP Indian Government has done excellent job helping Indian Muslims in trouble in Yemen, SA and Gulf countries. There goes all arguments against BJP not helping Muslims.

Azad kashmir Mar 21, 2017 06:18pm

They just came for Nihari. Pakistan does have the best. Indian media is the one hyping this thing up, nobody bothered these guys I'm sure they would visit Pakistan again

Azad kashmir Mar 21, 2017 06:18pm

@Indian much safer here than in India! It's so touching though that you are worried about their well being. We also wish the best for minorities in India, especially under RSS

KHAN SAHEB Mar 21, 2017 07:17pm

Happy our Indian clerics are back in India That's the greatest joy we have heared. We must celebrate thier return in full force

kerala Mar 22, 2017 08:34am

@Concerned We Indians can see that hue and cry after foreign sports team cancellations day by day.

patriot Mar 22, 2017 09:26am

@Indian I hope the visitors are safe after going back to India.

oregata Mar 22, 2017 09:44am

If they were visiting their sister in Karachi, what got them to interior Sindh? Or has Karachi been shifted to interior Sindh?

Huma Mar 22, 2017 09:53am

Interior Sindh has no communication network...NOT true to my knowledge. I have traveled to Sindh and there was network pretty much anywhere!!

Brar Mar 22, 2017 10:14am

@Sajid they have clearly stated that they didn't violated any rules and visited the places they were allowed.

abu.ashhad Mar 22, 2017 02:05pm

Sister is living in Karachi so what he was doing in interior sindh?

SAM Mar 22, 2017 02:09pm

@TAriq No brother, they are as free in India. Much safer, more respected. When you do go to India, you will discover that yourself, as I did. Let us shed our prejudices. Not everything is bad about India and not everything is good about Pakistan.

Yash Mar 22, 2017 02:33pm

@jamshed . Brother ,they are all very happy and safe in India as the law abiding citizens of democratic country. Do not be concerned but please do raise concern about the minorities in your country. Regards.

Yash Mar 22, 2017 02:56pm

@Khwarizmi please note innocent and law abiding people have never been killed in Kashmir. Visit Kashmir and ask the people rather than believing in exagurated news.

sikander shallwani Mar 22, 2017 03:31pm

Don't come to Pakistan if you don't like us

SAT Mar 22, 2017 04:23pm

@Shampee Is Pakistan still so backward in communications? My impression was that it has well developed network.

Changez Khan Mar 22, 2017 04:27pm

Send these Sufis back immediately.

Muhammad Salahuddin Khan Mar 22, 2017 04:52pm

Who ever their personalities they should have arrested and given a lesson to obey the rules of minimise the travelling restriction to the value of VISA. Believe me what would be the behaviour of Indian Government if such incident had taken place by Pakistan National on a visit to India.

pakistani Mar 22, 2017 05:04pm

@Indian . So if he is 80 year old, then his sister might be between 70-85 herself depending on being older or younger. And so have been safe living in Pakistan for so long then we can assure that she will still be safe in future. I cannot say the same about her Indian brother living in India with the attacks on minorities increasing by the day.

lotec Mar 22, 2017 05:30pm

@TAriq Well said sir

gp65 Mar 22, 2017 08:04pm

@V C BHUTANI "Besides, I am told visa is specific about which places the visitor can go to. Naturally, any foreign visitor should follow Pakistan's laws."

No laws were broken. These people have stated quite clearly that they did not go to interior Sind or any other place that their visas did not permit.

Ravi Ambala city Mar 22, 2017 08:03pm

@TAriq Looks like you did not read the news. They went missing in Pakistan not India.

wajih qidwai Mar 22, 2017 08:46pm

Media is the root cause of every issue these days

Sarak Chaap Mar 23, 2017 12:11am

Indians please leave Pakistan alone and live in you own heaven

MG- Washington Mar 23, 2017 12:28am

@jamshed are you not worried about the remaining one billion Muslims around the world?

Hemant Mar 23, 2017 03:09am

@Arun Well not quite as bad, Indian Media is just hysterical...

R S Chakravarti Mar 23, 2017 08:31am

@Sajid Why don't you believe what they said rather than media reports?

danny Mar 23, 2017 08:31am

@VJ@India .. true indian muslim is well educated and sober than rest of the world. they will never be disrespected by any country when they show indian passport. proud to be a indian. we are not in ban list. muslim in india believe and respect all the faith that you never find in other countries, because their education.

R S Chakravarti Mar 23, 2017 08:36am

@SAM Good point.

Iqbal Mar 23, 2017 09:29am

@Azad kashmir they were taken in for interrogation, all they wanted was to go home

Concerned Pakistani Mar 23, 2017 12:15pm

@Sajid Dear r5ead the news carefully. The version that they had gone to interior is given by our media. Actually they were picked by some agency for interrogation and upon release they reached Karachi. This is a very sad story as these are religiuos and non political people.

mOhammAd S. Khalis Mar 23, 2017 12:15pm

@Indian

Do not worry; more safe in Pakistan than Muslim in UP/India.

Dr.Sadaf Mar 23, 2017 02:09pm

@Vimal , you seem to have lot of information.

mOhammAd S. Khalis Mar 23, 2017 02:43pm

@B.patel. USA

Well; a good job for Muslims in Yemen, KSA, and Gulf....but no job for Muslims suffering in India.