Two Indian Sufi clerics have gone missing in Pakistan during a pilgrimage and the two countries' foreign ministries are scrambling to handle the matter. While one of the missing clerics has been identified as Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the other is his nephew.
Nizami, 80, who is the chief cleric of New Delhi's Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, is believed to have travelled to Pakistan on 8 March. The two have been unaccounted for since Wednesday, 15 March.
"We have taken up this matter with the Government of Pakistan and requested them for an update on both the Indian nationals in Pakistan," said India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. She wrote in a tweet: "Both are missing after they landed at Karachi airport."
The two, who were accompanied by the chief priest's son, were travelling to the popular Daata Darbar shrine in Lahore. They lost contact with their family members soon after they returned from Lahore.
"On March 14, they offered another 'chadar' (sheet) at Daata Darbar Sufi shrine in Lahore. The next day, they reached Lahore airport to take a flight to Karachi at 4:30 pm. At the Lahore airport, my cousin was stopped by authorities to clear some documentation and my father was asked to board the flight," Sazid Ali Nizami, son of the missing cleric, told Indo-Asian News Agency. "We have no information as such. We have been putting up our landline numbers in advertisements."
Their mobiles have also been turned off since they disappeared. The Pakistan Foreign Office acknowledged it has received an official request from India to trace the missing clerics. Islamabad's interior ministry is pursuing the matter.