13 April, Islamabad
Without blaming India by name, Pakistan on Thursday said “foreign intelligence agencies” may have kidnapped a retired Pakistani Army officer who has gone missing in Nepal.
The Dawn quoted Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria as saying at the weekly press briefing that retired Lt Col Habib Zahir had been trapped in Nepal “after being lured into a job offer”.
He said Pakistani authorities were in touch with the Nepal government to trace Zahir and Kathmandu was cooperating.
Zakaria, however, warned against linking Zahir’s disappearance with the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an alleged Indian spy sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for espionage and sabotage.
“It is unreasonable on India’s part to link the Jadhav case with Habib Zahir,” he said.
Zakaria appeared to be referring to Indian media reports that say that Zahir was part of the team that picked up Jadhav.
Pakistan says Jadhav was caught in Balochistan and he was working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). India says Jadhav was abducted from Iran.
Zahir, who retired from the Army in 2014, went missing on April 6 from Lumbini, a Buddhist pilgrimage site near the Indian border.
The Pakistani reached Nepal after he was lured with a job offer by someone by the name of Mark Thompson.
The spokesman said clear evidence existed of Indian involvement in Pakistan’s internal affairs and India’s attempts to spread terrorism in the country.
“India has been caught red-handed interfering in Pakistan,” Zakaria said.
He claimed that India had interfered in Pakistani affairs in the past as well.