New Delhi/Islamabad, September 19: Reacting to reports that "missing" Lt Col (retd.) Habib Zahir is in India's custody, Pakistan on Wednesday said that involvement of "hostile agencies" behind the officer's disappearance cannot be ruled out. There had been reports that Habib Zahir was in Indian custody and speculated about a swap with Kulbhushan Jadhav who is on death row in Pakistan. India Regrets Pakistan's Denial for Modi's Flight, Says Such Clearances Given Routinely by Any Normal Country.
"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 involvement of hostile agencies cannot be ruled out," said Pakistan's Foreign Minister in a statement. Pakistan SSG Commandos Spotted Near Poonch River Along LoC, Indian Army Recovers Camera From Spot; Watch Video.
The ministry added that the Pakistan government "shall not rest until he is home". Zahir mysteriously went missing in Nepal in April 2017, days after a Pakistani military court sentenced Kulbhushan Jadhav to death for alleged espionage. Pakistani media had reported that India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had abducted a retired Pakistani lieutenant colonel, in retaliation for the arrest of Jadhav.
Zahir had worked as an undercover agent for the Inter-Services Intelligence for a while. His son Saad Zahir filed an FIR at the Rawat police station in Rawalpindi. According to the complaint, Zahir had taken a job with the Rafhan Mills in Faisalabad after retiring from the Pakistan army in October 2014. In early 2017, he was offered a job by a person called Mark Thomas. Saad said that his father had recieved an offer letter for the post of zonal director with a salary of $8,500 (Rs 5.5 lakh) a month in Nepal.
Zahir was received in Kathmandu on April 6 and immediately put on a short-haul flight onboard a Buddha Air plane to Lumbini. But after reaching Lumbini, he went missing, his son had said. The Nepal government formed a special team to look into his disappearance but there has not been any progress in the matter so far.