Missing Pakistani officer went to Nepal for job: Sartaj

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said today a retired Pakistani Army officer, Lt Col Mohammad Habib Zahir, who went missing near Nepal had travelled to Kathmandu for a job.

“Col Habib has applied online for a job and after the modalities were finalised, he traveled to Kathmandu. He and his family had all the record of correspondence with the employer,” Sartaj told the Senate.

He said the former Army officer had reached Nepal via London but his cell phone went missing and he lost contact with his family.

“According to preliminary investigation till his traveling to Kathmandu on April 6, 2017, Col Habib was in constant touch with his family. He lost connection on April 7 when he reached Kathmandu,” he added.

Sartaj said investigation reports have revealed all those who offered him job, received him at the airport and booked air ticket and hotel for Habib are Indians.

“When Col Habib went missing his family informed the GHQ and the government raised this matter with Nepalese government through Pakistani mission in Kathmandu. The incident has also been reported to UN Working Group on Forced Disappearances,” he added.

He said an FIR has also been lodged about his disappearance and the government is in constant touch with Nepalese authorities to trace whereabouts of Habib Zahir.

Security officials in Pakistan say Zahir was lured to Nepal with a job prospect before being seized by Indian intelligence, which hopes to use him to secure the release of an Indian agent sentenced to death by a military court.

They said Zahir's abduction was aimed at pressuring Pakistan to release Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian naval officer convicted of espionage who was sentenced to death on April 10.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations, and Jadhav's death sentence has further strained ties. India has denounced Jadhav's trial as a farce, insisting he was abducted from Iran and that his subsequent presence in Pakistan was never credibly explained.