Missing Sufi Clerics Located in Karachi, To Return on 20 March

The two missing Indian clerics - Syed Asif Nizami, the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, and and his nephew Nazim Nizami - reached Karachi this evening. Since then, their mobile phones are switched off and their families in India claim they are untraceable. While the Indian minister has taken up the matter with Pakistani authority, several reports have suggested either the militants or the notorious Pakistani spy agency ISI may be behind the disappearance of the clerics.

Today, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj dialled her de-facto Pakistan counterpart Sartaj Aziz and asked him to intervene in the search for the clerics.

Islamic militants in Pakistan have repeatedly targeted the followers of Sufi orders and their shrines, which extremists view as un-Islamic. "Nizal Ali was detained at the Lahore airport itself while Asif Ali was allowed to travel to Karachi but he never came out of the airport", Asif Ali's eldest son has said. 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.

"The next day, they reached Lahore airport to take a flight to Karachi at 4.30 p.m". We got a call from the India government, we would like to thank the government.

Sushma Swaraj also said that there had been no official confirmation about their whereabouts. The clerics visited the shrines of Khawaja Fariduddin Ganjshakar - widely known as Baba Farid - just outside Lahore and the Data Darbar inside Lahore, according to photos they shared with their families, officials said.

The clerics were on a pilgrimage to Pakistan and had gone missing on March 14, prompting India to take up the matter with Islamabad.

  • Patricia Jimenez