Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

Pakistan says it's trying to locate missing Nizamuddin Dargah priests

Missing cleric's son appeals to govt for immediate action Missing cleric's son appeals to govt for immediate action
Lucas Bell | 19 March, 2017, 00:18

"I spoke to Mr Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan PM's adviser on foreign affairs, regarding missing Indian nationals", Sushma wrote on Twitter.

The clerics went to Karachi to meet their relatives after which they headed to Lahore to visit the shrines of Sufi saints.

Sources said Indian officials were in discussions with Pakistani authorities and have asked them to check CCTV footage at Lahore and Karachi airports for clues. They were visiting Pakistan, said family members, after 30 years and planned to look up relatives and visit Sufi shrines in Pakistan.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on March 17 posted a series of tweets and said that she has taken up the matter with Islamabad. While Asif was allowed to board, Nazim was stopped at Lahore airport on grounds of incomplete documents. The trip was part of a traditional two-way exchange of clerics between the two countries as the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi is associated with Gharib Nawaz, who is venerated in Data Darbar Lahore.

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Independently, Indian officials confirmed that Syed's sister had once had links to the MQM, one of Sindh's most powerful political parties - but also an organisation vilified by Pakistan's establishment. However, there is no official confirmation regarding their whereabouts.

The two clerics offered a "chadar" at Lahore's Baba Farid's shrine on March 13.

Meanwhile a delegation from the Nizamuddin Dargah called on Minsiter of State (External Affairs) VK Singh and sought Government of India's intervention for the clerics' safe return. However Indian agencies have learnt that the duo was picked up and detained by the agencies in Pakistan.

"The personnel of an intelligence took both the clerics into custody after getting them offloaded and shifted them to an undisclosed location for investigation", a source had said.

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