Nepal link to Jadhav verdict?

Missing former Pakistani army officer's family and friends have told Pakistani media that they suspect that he was kidnapped by Indian agencies in Nepal.

Updated - November 29, 2021 01:18 pm IST

Published - April 11, 2017 11:12 pm IST - NEW DELHI

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Questions over a possible link between a former Pakistani army officer who went missing in Nepal last week and the sentencing of former Indian naval Commander Kulbushan Jadhav by a Pakistani army court to death arose as details emerged of the two incidents.

Lt. Col. (retd.) Muhammad Habib Zahir landed in Kathmandu on Thursday last, purportedly looking for a job, and since then he has been missing.

His family and friends have told Pakistani media that they suspect that he was kidnapped by Indian agencies.

Counter move

While there is no indication from any Indian sources about a link between Lt. Col. Zahir’s disappearance and Indian agencies, speculation has intensified since the award of the death sentence to Jadhav.

Indian officials viewed the Pakistani move to publicise Jadhav's death penalty as a pre-emptive measure in case India were to disclose that it had Lt. Col. Zahir in its custody.

“Timing is important. They think that their missing officer is in Indian custody. By announcing the death sentence to Jadhav they think they have pre-empted an Indian disclosure, and believe that now if India were to make any move on that front, it could be projected as a retaliation,” an official source told The Hindu .

At least two sources who had personally known Jadhav when he was in the Navy said it [a link between Lt. Col. Zahir and Jadhav’s sentencing] was a hopeful sign. “If that is so then [we] can hope that he would be back home one day,” one of them said.

Job offer

An FIR registered by Lt. Col. Zahir’s son, Saad Habib, claimed that he was received by a man named Javaid Ansari at the Kathmandu airport on April 6. Since then he has not contacted his family, who have claimed that he received an interview call from a U.K. telephone number generated via the Internet. He also received an email from

Lt. Col. Zahir, who reportedly retired from the army in 2014, has also worked with the United Nation’s peace mission for two years, Pakistani media said. He then joined a Pakistani food company and was looking for other job offers.

According to Pakistan media reports, he was contacted by a man named Mark Thompson, who offered him a job at an international company, and called him for an interview to Nepal.

Initial probe

Saad said the initial probe by the family and friends revealed that the British telephone number from which the officer got the job offer was computer generated and the email domain and its associated website were registered in India.

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