Clerics' disappearance: India suspects role of Pakistan intel agencies

Sushma Swaraj asks for update from Islamabad on Indian clerics missing in Pakistan

Sushma Swaraj stated that she has contacted their host in Karachi and he appeared to be under pressure not to speak to Indian High Commission. "We would also thank Pakistan media", Aamir Nizami said.

Meanwhile a delegation from the Nizamuddin Dargah called on Minsiter of State (External Affairs) VK Singh and sought Government of India's intervention for the clerics' safe return.

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that she has taken up the matter to Islamabad officials.

The clerics are reported to be safe and are expected to reach India on 20 March.

Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the head priest or "Sajjadanashin" of the Dargah in Delhi, and his relative Nazim Ali Nizami have been missing for more than 72 hours after being "detained" in Lahore and Karachi airports. On March 14, they offered another chadar at the Data Darbar Sufi shrine, also in Lahore.

"At the airport, my cousin was stopped by authorities to clear some documentation and my father was asked to board the flight".

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The duo had travelled to Pakistan to visit their relatives in Karachi and, then, embarked on a pilgrimage to Lahore.

Exchanges between clerics of Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi and the Data Darbar are part of a regular tradition. While one of the clerics went missing from Lahore airport, the second went missing after arriving at the Karachi airport, one of the news report cited above said.

"Pakistan Foreign Office has confirmed that the two Indian clerics have been traced and reached Karachi", a source said in New Delhi.

India had rejected Pakistan's charge that the visit of two Indian clerics in the neighbouring country, who went missing since yesterday, was unauthorised.

The disappearance of the clerics is likely to add to the tensions between the two countries.

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