Two Indian clerics who reportedly went missing in Pakistan returned here on Monday amid some confusion over what really happened to them in that country.
Syed Asif Ali Nizami and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, both clerics with Delhi’s revered Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, flew in from Karachi and later met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
They rubbished reports charging them with links with the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — an allegation that apparently got them into trouble in Pakistan.
Saying they had left for Pakistan on March 8, Nazim Ali Nizami said: “We had gone to meet my aunt who is 90 and lives in Karachi. My uncle met his sister after 26 long years.”
He said a Pakistani Urdu newspaper “Ummat” printed “fake pictures” about them and alleged they were agents of RAW and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
Consequently, the two were detained and questioned by Pakistani authorities, Asif Ali Nizami’s son Syed Sajid Ali told the media here.
“Father told us they were detained on the basis of the newspaper report which claimed they were spying in Pakistan at the behest of RAW. They were allowed to go after the interrogators realised the charges were false.”
After they reached Delhi, the clerics visited the Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah — built in the memory one of the most revered Sufi saints, Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya in the heart of Delhi.
The Sufi shrine is visited by tens of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims alike including from Pakistan.
After a warm welcome by family members, neighbours and devotees, the clerics met Minister Sushma Swaraj, who had taken up their plight with top Pakistani officials after it became known that they were missing.
The clerics refused to divulge details about their meeting with Sushma Swaraj.
Nazim Ali, however, said they would go to Pakistan again.
“We went to Pakistan to spread the Nizammuddin Dargah’s message of peace and love. I often go to Pakistan but my uncle this time went their to meet his sister.
“But elements who are against peace and love have made false allegations against us. They claimed we had gone to Sind. But how can we go there when we did not have visa for Sind?
“I will keep going to Pakistan to spread love and peace,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy claimed to have “independent information” that the clerics were working against India.
“We have independent information that these two were working against the country,” he told the media.
Communist Party of India leader D. Raja added: “There needs to be a proper investigation into all the revelations and the matter must be raised with the Pakistani government.”