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Muhammad Habib Zahir, a retired Lt Colonel of the Pakistan Army working for the country’ military intelligence agency ISI in Nepal has disappeared from Lumbini near the border with India.
His son says Zahir landed in Kathmandu from Oman to meet ‘some prospective employers’ and took a flight to Lumbini on a local airline, Buddha Air on Apr 3.
He has not been heard off since.
lookeast.in learns from reliable sources Zahir was now in Indian custody.
They say Zahir was part of the ISI team that trapped Jadhav who operated from the Iranian port city of Chhabahar.
A Pakistani military court has sentenced Jadhav to death by hanging for his alleged involvement in sabotage and subterfuge in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
Some sources say Zahir was picked up to create a card to bargain for Jadhav’s release. Others say Pakistan announced the death sentence for Jadhav after Zahir’s retaliatory abduction.
One top former Indian intelligence official told lookeast.in that if Jadhav is hanged, Pakistani agents will face serious retaliatory action all over South Asia.
” We are prepared for the kind of covert retaliation Pakistan cannot imagine. We now have a government which will back us to the hilt and not chicken out, so we will teach the Pakistanis a few lessons in their own favourite trade.”
Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj has already said India will do everything possible to save Jadhav. ” He is a true son of India”.
While many Indian agents have been incarcerated before in Pakistani like Ravinder Kaushik, Sarabjit Singh and Kashmira Singh, Delhi has been in a denial mode over them.
But now with both PM Modi and NSA Ajit Doval hinting that India will hit back in Balochistan for Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir, India seems determined to save Jadhav.
“This is the first time India seems to be going all out to defend someone who has risked his life and limb for the country in an under-cover job,” the retired intelligence official said.
India has asked Pakistan for the charge sheet against Jadhav to explore possibilities for legal defense.
Zahir retired from the Pakistan Army in 2014 but started to work for the ISI’s covert operations team. In 2015, he picked up conversations between Jadhav and his family members and started tracking him, reliable sources said.
“Jadhav used an Indian passport issued in the name of Hussein Mubarak Patel to carry out his dhow business in Iran. Pakistani agencies heard him speaking to his family members in Marathi. Zahir laid a trap for Jadhav, who was apprehended in March 2016,” they said.
both PM Modi and NSA Ajit Doval hinting that India will hit back in Balochistan for Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir, India seems determined to save Jadhav
Sources said Zahir was lured to Nepal with the promise of a “big job” by a fictitious company Strategic Solutions which promised to pay him $ 8500 a month to head the company’s investigations wing.
“He was a greedy guy and wanted to leave the ISI work because he found this offer much more lucrative,” the sources said.
Someone calling himself Javed Ansari met Zahir a few times for ‘job interviews and negotiations’ after calling him from an UK number. The meetings were in Oman and Zahir was finally given a Karachi-Oman-Kathmandu flight ticket.
“Zahir arrived in Oman on April 2 and reached Kathmandu the next day. On his arrival in Nepal, he was handed over a SIM card at Bhairawa. Zahir was told that this was to facilitate his communication with a point person. From there, he was made to travel to Lumbini near the Indian border,” the officer said.
A PTI report from Islamabad Monday said Zahir’s son Saad lodged an FIR with Rawat police station near Rawalpindi, saying his father was received in Nepal by one Javed Ansari who took him to Lumbini.
“We suspect that my father has been abducted and enemy spy agencies might be responsible for it,” a police officer quoted Saad as saying.