The two Indian clerics who had gone missing in Pakistan on March 15 have said they were detained by Pakistan intelligence agencies on the basis of a “false” report published in a Karachi-based newspaper, which said the duo were RAW agents. Asif Ali Nizami (8o), the head priest of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami (66), returned to India on Monday, after the Centre intervened in the matter. The duo reached the Delhi airport in the morning, from where they directly went to Nizamuddin Dargah to meet their family members. They also met Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh later in the day. They also rejected reports that they were in “interior Sindh where there was no communication network”.
“We did not have visa for Sindh interior region, so how could we have gone there?” Syed Nazim Ali Nizami said.
Talking about the episode, Sajid Nizami, son of Asif Ali Nizami, told The Indian Express, “These days, people are increasingly becoming opposed to Sufism. There are some people in Pakistan who don’t want Sufi saints to come to their country. They were detained on the basis of a report in the (Ummat) paper which said they were RAW agents, and had become so through their contact with Altaf Hassan of MQM.”
“They were asked where they came from, why they had come to Pakistan. They were also asked about their connection with the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, and how many people visited it on a daily basis. They also asked them to show all relevant documents, which were in place,” he said. While they admitted that they were questioned for three days, the duo maintained they were treated well, and were not pressured or tortured at any stage.
Nazim said the report was a work of people “who did not like the propagation of love and peace” followed by Sufi clerics.
Attacking them, he said, “There are good and bad people everywhere. The Ganga-jamuni tehzeeb which we have been educated in over the years, courtesy the principles of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, is still flourishing, and we all live with love and affection here. But there are some people who don’t like this ‘pyaar ki baat’.”
“There is a newspaper called Ummat, which does not want to propagate the idea of love and brotherhood. They are trying in various ways to spread misinformation by printing false statements and photographs. But thankfully, their false advertising has not worked, and it has failed to dent our ‘paigaam-e-mohabbat’,” he said.
Declaring that such an experience wouldn’t stop him from travelling to Pakistan, Nazim said, “Wo log chahte hain ki main Pakistan na jaun. Main Pakistan phir jaunga, phir paigam-e-mohabbat leke jaunga aur danke ki chot (par) jaunga, kyunki humara paigam, insaniyat ka paigam hai.”
“I want to thank Sushma (Swaraj) ji and Rajnath (Singh) saab, who helped us. I also thank the Pakistan government which put an end to this falsehood, and encouraged the spreading of love. I hope that both New Delhi and Islamabad will continue to spread this love,” he said, adding that they offered prasad to Swaraj that they had got from one of the Dargahs in Pakistan, along a chaadar and dupatta.