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Grilled in Pakistan over alleged RAW links, Dargah clerics return safely

Mar 21, 2017
The two Indian clerics said to have gone missing in Pakistan returned on Monday but the reason for their detention remained shrouded in mystery . After their return, they met foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and thanked her for efforts made by the government to secure their release.
According to a report in Pakistani media, the two clerics, Syed Asif Nizami and Nazim Ali Nizami, had been detained for links with the Re search and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India's external intelligence agency. The clerics said Pakistani officials had sought details of their visas.
"I was taken to a place quite far from Karachi, with my face covered. I was accused of working for R&AW . First they were rude but later we were offered food when the Indian mission intervened," said Asif.
The clerics said they had gone to Pakistan to spread Nizamuddin Dargah's message of peace and love and that they would continue to do so despite resistance from the "negative people" of the neighbouring country . They said they were put through sustained in terrogation and were asked questions pertaining to Nizamuddin Dargah.
"The Pakistani officers who questioned us even referred to a local Urdu newspaper, Ummad's report and asked us about our links to the R&AW and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).There were all sorts of articles being published against us in the newspaper," said Nazim.
Nazim said that he did not know the name of the agency that was questioning them, but a few sleuths from the agency kept asking about their links to the banned organisation. "Before the Indian mission to Pakistan intervened, we overheard some of the conversations of the agency officials who spoke about taking us to some interior area in Sindh. However, the plan was later dropped," said Nazim.
They were supposed to return on March 18. They were offloaded from Karachi-bound Shaheen Airlines on March 14 at the Allama Iqbal Interna tional Airport, Lahore, Pakistani sources said. Cops rounded up Nazim, took his passport and asked Asif to return to Karachi. An SHO took their details and promised to release him after some questioning. When Asif reached Karachi, he too was detained.
Nazim was detained in Lahore for a day and asked about his whereabouts in India and asked about the purpose of the visit. They were later taken to Karachi where he was kept in a safe house with Asif. The duo said they were detained till March 18.
"There are people who disagree with our message of peace and love. They said we had gone to the interior province of Sindh. We did not. We don't have the visa for that place. We are thankful to the Indian government because of whom we are back. Negative people in Pakistan don't want us to go there again but we will go there again to spread the message of peace," Nazim Nizami told reporters, adding that a newspaper in Pakistan had falsely claimed that they were R&AW agents.
Asif Nizami and Nazim Ali Nizami had gone to Lahore on March 8 but went missing in the middle of last week following which India took up the issue with Islamabad. The main purpose of Asif 's visit to Pakistan was to see his sister in Karachi.
On Saturday , Pakistan had conveyed to India that the clerics were traced and had reached Karachi.
Is there any need to go to that cursed country? Better take care of your lives and stay in India only. Spread the message of love to Azam Khan and Owaisi - they are in great need of it.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had taken up the issue with the Pakistani PM's adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, and requested him to trace the missing clerics.
Yesterday , Swaraj had spoken to Asif Nizami and said they were safe.


The Time of India, March 21, 2017

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