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'Vanished' Pakistan Officer Was on a ‘Sensitive’ ISI Mission to Nepal

Pakistani sources said Zahir had arrived in Kathmandu on April 6 by Air Arabia, and boarded an Air Buddha flight to Bhairahawa. The official version is that he had visited Nepal for a job interview with a UN agency that was negotiated over the Internet. He was currently working with Rafhan Mills, Faisalabad.

Manoj Gupta | CNN-News18

Updated:April 12, 2017, 10:05 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Pakistan Army officer who went missing in Nepal last week was on a “sensitive” ISI mission while he vanished, top Indian intelligence sources told CNN-News18.

Lt Colonel Mohammed Habib Zahir, a retired artillery officer, was reported to be on way to Lumbini in the Indo-Nepal border when he made his last call to his family in Lahore.

His family has accused that he was lured into a trap and was kidnapped by “enemy intelligence agencies,” while India has maintained it has nothing to do with the officer’s disappearance.

Indian intelligence circles believe Zahir had a "no-objection certificate" from ISI to travel outside Pakistan, which was issued on March 31, 2017, by Lt Col Atif Anwer Dar of ISI.

Col Zahir was on sensitive ISI mission in Nepal and was to stay there for two weeks. After losing touch with Zahir, ISI disown any links with him, they said.

Earlier, there were reports that Zahir was among the ISI team that had kidnapped former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav from Chaman in Iran and brought him to Pakistan.

A few days ago a Pakistani military court had sentenced Jadhav to death for “espionage” activities in the country’s restive Baluchistan region.

Indian intelligence circles rubbished the claim that Zahir's disappearance had anything to do with Jadhav's sentencing.

Pakistani sources said Zahir had arrived in Kathmandu on April 6 by Air Arabia, and boarded an Air Buddha flight to Bhairahawa. The official version is that he had visited Nepal for a job interview with a UN agency that was negotiated over the Internet. He was currently working with Rafhan Mills, Faisalabad.

He last spoke to his family on April 6. Saad Habib, a son of the missing officer, in an FIR lodged late on Monday with Rawat police station near Rawalpindi, said that his father was received by one Javed Ansari in Nepal who took him to Lumbini, a town near the Indian border.

According to the family, a caller identified as Mark Thompson had reportedly contacted him both via email and a UK-registered telephone for a job interview in Nepal for which he was also provided an air ticket.

Pakistani media had claimed that initial probe showed that the UK number was computer-generated and the emails and website domains were registered in India, creating an alarm that Indian spies might have tricked the officer.



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| Edited by: Nakshab Khan
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