Islamabad: Pakistan claimed on Thursday that “foreign spy agencies” may have “trapped” and then abducted one of its former army officer, who has mysteriously disappeared from a Nepalese town close to the Indian border.
Lt Col Muhammad Habib Zahir disappeared on 6 April from Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site near India’s border town of Sonauli, where he had apparently gone for a job interview.
Foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Zahir was “trapped” and Pakistan was in touch with Nepal to trace him.
“He was lured after being offered a job… The role of foreign spy agencies cannot be ruled out,” he said, without naming any country. But words such as “enemy” and “foreign spy agency” by the foreign office are often used to suggest the involvement of India and its external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
Zahir, who retired from service in October 2014 from the artillery wing of the Pakistan Army, worked for a private firm but had posted his profile online seeking another employment.
A caller, who identified himself as Mark Thompson, had reportedly contacted Zahir — via email and telephone — for the job interview and he was provided an air ticket to travel to Nepal.
An initial probe by Pakistani security agencies has showed that a phone number registered in the UK was computer- generated to contact Zahir and emails and website domains were registered in India.
From Nepal, Zahir had contacted his family last Thursday and since his phone numbers could not be reached. His last message from Lumbini read he had reached his destination.
His disappearance has coincided with the death penalty handed down to former India naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by a Pakistani army court for his involvement in “terrorism and espionage”. But Pakistan has repeatedly refused India any consular access to Jadhav. Read more…