Have two Indian Sufi priests been kidnapped by Islamist fundamentalists in Pakistan? After arrival at Karachi on Wednesday (March 8), they seem to have just vanished into thin air. They did not arrive at their destination, the Daata Darbar (another famous Sufi Shrine). The exchange of clerics between these two shrines is a tradition dating back centuries. Sufi brand of Islam has been targetted by Wahabi and other fundamentalist groups, who have vowed to ‘wipe out’ this all embracing ‘bhakti style’ tradition. [They are now safe [see here] -editor]
Pakistan conveyed to India that it was “seriously pursuing” with its law enforcement agencies the case of two missing Indian clerics, an issue External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said has been taken up with the Pakistani government.(March 18)
Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told PTI in Islamabad that, “no clue to the missing Indian priests has been found so far” but Pakistan was “pro-actively pursuing” the case.
In a series of tweets, Swaraj said both Syed Asif Nizami and his nephew Nazim Nizami went missing after they landed at the Karachi airport and Pakistan government has been requested for an update on both the Indian nationals.
“We have taken up this matter with Government of Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in Pakistan. Both are missing after they landed in Karachi airport,” tweeted Swaraj.
80-year-old Syed Asif Nizami is the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah.
[Hazrat Nizamuddin(, Hindi: निज़ामुद्दीन ) is the dargah (mausoleum) of one of the world’s most famous Sufi saints, Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya (1238 – 1325 CE). Situated in the Hazrat Nizamuddin West area of Delhi, the dargah is visited by thousands of Muslims every week, and sees a fair share of Hindus, Christians and people from other religions. The tombs of poet Hazrat Amir Khusro and Mughal princess Jehan Ara Begum are also located within the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah complex, and Inayat Khan’s tomb is just around the corner.]
Official sources in New Delhi said Pakistan has conveyed that it was “seriously pursuing” the case with its law enforcement agencies.
As per their families, while Asif was allowed to go to Karachi, Nazim was stopped at the Lahore airport on grounds of incomplete travel papers. While Nazim went missing from Lahore airport, Asif went missing after arriving at the Karachi airport. (A source told PTI)
“Indian nationals Syed Asif Nizami aged 80 years and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Pakistan on March 8, 2017,” Swaraj said.
Zakaria also said, “We have asked all departments concerned to look into the matter”, noting that the Foreign Office had received the request of the Indian government to trace the two clerics.
Exchanges between clerics of the Nizamuddin Dargah and the Daata Darbar are part of a regular tradition.