Many holes to punch into Pakistan’s claim on disappearance of retired Lt Col
New Delhi, Sep 19: Pakistan decided to rake up a 2017 and alleged that Lt Col Habib Zahir, who had gone missing in Nepal was due to hostile agencies.
The statement by the Pakistan's foreign minister said," responding to a media query regarding Indian media reports /tweets claiming that Lt Col Habib is in Indian custody and speculation about a swap with Commander Jadhav, the spokesperson stated that Lt Col Habib Zahir is a retired Pakistani officer who went missing in Nepal, where he had gone for a job interview in April 2017. Pakistan maintains that the involvement of hostile agencies cannot be ruled out."
Pakistan government will not rest until he is home, the statement further added.
It may be recalled that Pakistan had alleged that Habib had been trapped in Nepal after being lured into a job offer. This statement came just days after Kulbhushan Jadhav had been sentenced.
Pakistan had also alleged that he had disappeared from Lumbini near Nepal's border with India.
India on the other, since 2017 has maintained silence on the issue. India would instead let Pakistan do all the guesswork on this issue. However, sources had told OneIndia that the officer was on a sensitive mission when he disappeared.
Further, there are plenty of loop-holes in Pakistan's story. Zahir had a no-objection certificate from the ISI to travel outside Pakistan. This was issued on March 31, 2017, by an officer of the ISI who went by the name Lt Col Atif Anwer Dar. The source also added that the ISI disowned him after he lost touch.
The timing of Pakistan's claim is also questionable. The claim was made just after Jadhav's sentencing and it looked more like an attempt to divert the issue.
On Wednesday Pakistan raised the issue once again and said that it had requested the Indian government to help locate Zahir. However, no positive response was received and his family is distressed and also approached the UN Working Group on Enforced Involuntary Disappearances for help.