The two Indian clerics who recently went missing from Pakistan are in custody of the country’s intelligence agency, PTI reported on Saturday quoting unidentified officials. The agency said they were detained for their alleged links with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, whose members are being hounded by the government for the anti-national statements made by its chief, Altaf Hussain, in 2016.
Syed Asif Nizami, the head priest of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia Dargah, and his nephew Nazim Nizami were reportedly offloaded from a Karachi-bound flight at Lahore airport on March 14. “The personnel of an intelligence took both the clerics into custody after getting them offloaded and shifted them to an undisclosed location for investigation,” an unidentified official told the news agency. Other reports also suggested the same.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Friday said the Pakistani host of the Indian clerics seemed to be “under pressure” not to speak to the Indian High Commission. She said she had been in touch with Pakistan regarding the incident.
However, the Pakistan Foreign Office on Friday said that it had no information about the two missing men. Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told PTI that they had been “proactively pursuing” the case, but had no new leads yet. “We have asked all departments concerned to look into the matter,” Zakaria said.
Pakistan’s statement has irked the family of the two men. “How can they say that they have no clue about two foreign nationals missing in their country?” said Amir Ali Nizami, son of Asif Nizami. “This statement is so irresponsible. It is their responsibility to locate them promptly.”
Sushma Swaraj also said that there had been no official confirmation about their whereabouts. According to reports, the 80-year-old and his nephew visited Lahore’s Daata Darbar shrine and were supposed to fly back to India from Karachi on Wednesday. They had visited their relatives in Karachi before heading to Lahore, from where they went missing.