‘Missing’ Indian clerics return from Pakistan

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New Delhi, March 20: Two Indian clerics, who had gone missing in Pakistan, returned to Delhi on Monday, family members said.

Syed Asif Ali Nizami, 80, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, both clerics of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, landed at the Delhi airport on Monday morning and later went to their home.

“Both have reached home and are safe and sound. We had a talk and they were quite excited after coming back. We thank the Ministry of External Affairs and the central government for ensuring their safe return,” said Syed Sajid Ali, son of the 80-year-old cleric.

The duo on their arrival visited the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and were warmly welcomed by the people.

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.

She had also raised the matter with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz Pakistan.

On a visit to Data Darbar in Lahore, the two clerics went missing on March 15.

Subsequently they were reported to have been found in a remote village of Sindh province with no cell phone connectivity.

Local media reports, citing unnamed sources, said both clerics were traced to Karachi’s Nazimabad neighbourhood in rural Sindh where they had apparently gone to “meet their followers, where there was no communication network”, which is why they could not inform their relatives about their whereabouts.