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Sushma Swaraj hints at Pakistan’s ISI role in abduction of two Indian Sufi clerics

India TV Politics Desk New Delhi 18 Mar 2017, 13:28:16 IST
India TV Politics Desk

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has dropped ample hints that Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI, could be behind the abduction of two Indian Sufi priests who had gone to the Islamic nation on a religious tour earlier this month. 

According to the Minister, the Pakistani hosts of the duo were ‘under pressure not to speak to the Indian High Commission’.

“Indian High Commission in Pakistan has taken up the matter of missing Indians Syed Asif Ali Nizami and Nazim Ali Nizami at the highest level in the Government of Pakistan,” she tweeted yesterday.

“We have also contacted their host in Karachi who appears to be under pressure not to speak to the Indian High Commission,” she said in another tweet. 

The Minister further said that she was in constant touch with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. 

“However, there is no official confirmation regarding their whereabouts. We are pursuing this further with the Government of Pakistan,” she said. 

The Sufi clerics, identified as -- Syed Asif Nizami, who is the head priest (Sajjadanashin) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia dargah, and his nephew Nazim Nizami had gone to Pakistan on March 8. They reportedly went missing from Lahore airport while taking a flight to Karachi a few days ago.

Meanwhile, Pakistan had yesterday conveyed to India that it was ‘seriously pursuing’ with its law enforcement agencies the case of two missing Indian clerics.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, however, said that no clue to the missing Indian priests has been found so far and that authorities were pro-actively pursuing the matter. 

Meanwhile, defence experts too have put onus on ISI. 

"The Airport is a high security area and a person cannot go missing in high security area. It is Pakistan government which will have to answer not only to India but to the entire Muslim world," Brigadier (Retd.) Mahalingam said.

“Obviously it is someone who has access to the airport and it is none another than Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” he added.

"I suspect, therefore it is Pakistan's ISI which has carried this particular abduction and it is Pakistan Government which will have to answer," he further said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Brigadier (Retd.) Amrit Kapoor said that the missing clerics are major personalities and that their disappearance could possibly be plotted by the Pakistan ISI.

"They have realised that these Imams and religious sufis heads can create propaganda, as Indian Government is a democratically elected government and believes in complete freedom of expression," he added.