Islamabad rejects claim of abducted colonel’s death

Lt Col Zahir was abducted in 2016 from an area in Nepal close to the Indian border

​ Our Correspondent November 21, 2019
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad on Thursday rejected claims – made in a letter – that a retired Pakistan Army colonel who was abducted from Nepal had died.

Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Habib Zahir was abducted in 2016 from an area in Nepal close to the Indian border. His whereabouts remain unknown. The letter in question is doing rounds on social media.

“It [letter] appears to be fake,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal during the weekly briefing.

Pakistan reiterates commitment to bring missing ex-army man home

“It is obviously a campaign of sensationalisation being undertaken by hostile agencies against Pakistan and its nationals. Pakistan and the family of Lt-Col (retd) Habib Zahir are extremely concerned about his whereabouts who was kidnapped more than two years ago from an area in Nepal close to the Indian border.”

Dr Faisal also expressed Pakistan’s willingness to have cordial ties with India but added, “New Delhi has never reciprocated”.

The spokesperson also voiced concerns over the prevailing situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and regretted that Kashmiris were not being allowed to offer their Friday prayers at local mosques.

He also urged the world, including the United Nations, to take notice of the brutal suppression of the religious rights and freedom of Kashmiri people.

Urging New Delhi to immediately restore internet and mobile phone services in the occupied valley, Dr Faisal said, “India should allow international media and human rights observers to visit IOK to independently observe the situation there”.

“The humanitarian nightmare is worsening in the valley with continued military lockdown and complete communications blackout. This is affecting the life and property of millions of Kashmiri people who have been cut off from the rest of the world.”

Islamabad rejects New Delhi’s move to ‘bifurcate’ occupied Kashmir

Responding to a question regarding the remarks of ex Indian army general about Kashmiri women, Dr Faisal said: “Terrorism and extremism are on a rise in India. It is a moment for the Indian society to introspect as to which way they are embarking upon.”

When asked about Washington's endorsement of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the spokesperson said that Pakistan considers all the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal under the international law.

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