NEW DELHI: Two Indian clerics, who went missing in Pakistan, are safe and will be back in Delhi on Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday.
The foreign minister spoke to one of the clerics of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia dargah. “I just spoke to Syed Nazim Ali Nizami in Karachi. He told me that they are safe and will be back in Delhi tomorrow (Monday),” Swaraj tweeted.
Head priest of Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia dargah, Syed Asif Ali Nizami, aged 80, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on March 8. Both went missing after landing in Karachi.
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.
Swaraj had taken up the matter with Pakistan Prime Minister’s foreign adviser, Sartaj Aziz. The Indian high commissioner in Islamabad had lodged a strong complaint with the foreign ministry in Islamabad on the matter.
Asif Nizami’s son, who spoke to his father, thanked the Prime Minister and external affairs minister for their efforts to ensure his father’s safe return.
Pakistan had on Saturday informed India that both clerics were traced and will reach India on Monday. Pakistani media reports said both were in interior Sindh and with poor connectivity.
Earlier, there were reports that the two had been picked up by intelligence agencies on account of their “suspicious” movements.
In a separate development, Indian and Pakistani officials will meet in Islamabad on Monday to discuss issues related to the Indus Water Treaty as part of the Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) meeting.