Strong evidence of Indian involvement in Habib Zahir's abduction: FO

Spokesperson asks the international community to take notice

Khalid Mahmood March 11, 2021
Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. PHOTO: APP/FILE


The Foreign Office on Thursday said that there was strong evidence that Indian hostile agencies were behind the abduction of Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Habib Zahir.

Habib Zahir is a retired officer of the Pakistan Army who was abducted in 2017 from Lumbini, Nepal, five kilometres from the Indian border.

"There is strong evidence pointing towards the involvement of Indian hostile agencies in the abduction of Habib Zahir, including involvement of Indian nationals who reportedly received him at Lumbini, made his hotel reservations and booked his tickets," FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

"The website that Habib Zahir was contacted from was also operated from India," he added.

Also read: Islamabad rejects claim of abducted colonel’s death

Moreover, he maintained, that the Indian media reports and tweets from Indian personnel corroborate the evidence that he was in their custody.

At our request, the spokesperson said, the government of Nepal constituted a special team to look into the incident but there has been no progress in the matter so far.

He highlighted that Pakistan has repeatedly called upon the government of India to cooperate and assist in locating Habib Zahir, but have not received any positive response as yet.

Chaudhri added that the abduction was a serious transnational crime that is in sharp contravention to international law, especially human rights and humanitarian law.

"Moreover, it is also in grave violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Access as well as the 2008 bilateral agreement on consular access between Pakistan and India."

Also read: Hostile agencies behind ex-army man's abduction: FO

The spokesperson went on to add that the grave human rights violation of the abductee and his family due to illegal actions of the abductors in a third state, speak of the gravity of the matter.

"The international community, especially the human rights organisations, must take serious notice of the matter and raise their voice for the release of an innocent individual."

Chaudhri said, "the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has registered the case of Habib Zahir, on the request of his family".

Concluding, the spokesperson said, "Pakistan will continue to make all-out efforts to locate and bring back Mr Habib Zahir".


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