New Delhi – India on Saturday stepped up pressure on Pakistan to locate the two Indian clerics reportedly missing in the neighbouring country.
However, local media reported that the clerics were being detained by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).
“Indian High Commission in Pakistan has taken up the matter of missing Indians.
“I am in constant touch with our High Commission; however, there is no official confirmation of their whereabouts.
“We are pursuing this further with the Government of Pakistan,” Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, said.
However, local media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying that the missing clerics were in the custody of ISI for their alleged links with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
“They were offloaded from Karachi-bound Shaheen Airlines flight on March 14 at Lahore Airport,’’ reports said.
On Friday, India said it had taken up with Islamabad, the matter of the missing clerics, Syed Asif and Ali Nizami, the head priest of Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah and his nephew, Nazim Nizami, who had travelled to Pakistan earlier this month.
The head priest’s son, Sazid Nizami, has said that his father and 60-year-old cousin had gone to Pakistan on pilgrimage to famous Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore and were to fly to Karachi from there.
His family’s last contact with his father was from the Lahore airport.
“On March 14, they offered another Chadar at Daata Darbar sufi shrine in Lahore.
“The next day, they reached Lahore airport to take a flight to Karachi at 4.30 p.m. (local time).
“At the airport, my cousin was stopped by authorities to clear some documentation and my father was asked to board the flight.
“Their mobile phones have been switched off since,” Sazid told newsmen.