Indian Sufi clerics return home from Pakistan, Islamabad issue another demarche

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday had announced that she had spoken to the duo, they were safe and would be arriving on Monday. 

Published: 20th March 2017 11:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st March 2017 01:37 AM   |  A+A-

On a visit to Data Darbar in Lahore, they went missing on Wednesday. | EPS- Shekhar Yadav

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As the two missing Sufi Indian clerics returned to India on Monday, Pakistan summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner to protest against the allege death of an elderly woman in cross-border firing on March 17.

Ali Nizami and Syed Asif Nizami, who is the ‘Sajjadanashin’ (Head Cleric) returned to India after Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj sought intervention of Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz to secure safe return of the two Indian clerics of Nizamuddin Daragah. The two had gone missing after venerating at the Data Durbar in Lahore.

"Whatever we faced during this time, should not mean that India and Pakistan should have another reason to feel bitter about each other. In fact, the efforts to build peace and amity must continue even more," Sufi cleric Nazim Ali Nizami was quoted by PTI after they met Swaraj.

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Swaraj’s direct communication with Aziz on the social media has been the first public contact since their meeting over Breakfast in Pokhara, Nepal during the SAARC Ministerial conference in March 2016. After terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase, Uri Army cantonment and Nagrota Army Base derailed the talks, the relations have been strained between the two volatile neighbours.

But as three Indian Parliamentarians were allowed to travel to Pakistan ostensibly to participate in a meeting of Asian Parliamentary Assembly, Swaraj sought Aziz’s intervention and Permanent Indus Water Commission held its meeting in Islamabad; hopes of thaw in Indo-Pak ties were rife. However, on the same day Pakistan summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to give a demarche over cross-border firing resulting in killing of a 60-year-old woman in a village along the Line of Control.

The relation between the two countries for over one year is now defined by slew of demarches and frequent cross-border fighting. India is yet to see tangible action from Pakistan to dismantle the terror network active on its soil, a pre-condition before talks can resume.

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