New Delhi: Two Indian Sufi clerics, who were on a pilgrimage to Pakistan, have gone missing, prompting India to take up the matter with the Pakistani government.
In a series of tweets early on Friday, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the two Sufi clerics had gone missing.
“Indian nationals Syed Asif Ali Nizami aged 80 years and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on 8 March 2017,” said Swaraj in a tweet, and followed it by another, “Syed Asif Ali Nizami is Head Priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia dargah.”
“Both are missing after they landed at Karachi airport,” said another tweet.
One of Swaraj’s tweets also said that India has taken up the issue with the Pakistan government. “We have taken up this matter with Government of Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in Pakistan,” she tweeted.
We have taken up this matter with Government of Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in Pakistan./4— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 17, 2017
One person familiar with the matter in New Delhi confirmed that the two clerics—from the Hazrat Nizammuddin Dargah in New Delhi—had been missing and that India had raised the matter with the Pakistani foreign ministry in Islamabad as well as the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi.
According to news reports, while one of the clerics was allowed to go to Karachi to visit relatives, the second was stopped at the Lahore airport on grounds of incomplete travel papers. While one of the clerics went missing from Lahore airport, the second went missing after arriving at the Karachi airport, one of the news report cited above said.
According to government officials in India, exchange visits between clerics of New Delhi’s Nizammuddin Dargah and the Sufi Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore take place regularly.