*ISLAMABAD: **Pakistan Foreign Office responds over Indian media report of arrested Pakistani Col Habib Zahir swap with RAW agent Kulbhushan Jhadav.*
*Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday said that involvement of hostile agencies could not be ruled out in abduction of Lieutenant Colonel (retd) Muhammad Habib Zahir in Nepal.*
In a statement issued by the ministry, Dr Faisal said, “The government continues to make all out efforts to locate him and shall not rest until he is home.”
Responding to a media query, regarding Indian media reports claiming that Col. Habib is in Indian custody and speculations about a swap with Commander Jadhav, the spokesperson said that Habib Zahir was a retired Pakistani officer who went missing in Nepal, where he had gone for a job interview in April 2017.
The spokesperson said that according to Zahir’s family, he had posted his CV on LinkedIn and UN website for a job. In response, he received a call and email from Mr. Mark stating that he had been shortlisted for the job of Vice President, read the statement.
He was asked to visit Kathmandu, Nepal for which he was sent air-ticket for Lahore-Oman-Kathmandu by Oman Airlines for an interview on 6 April 2017.
On 6 April 2017, he had messaged his wife from his cellphone intimating that he had landed safely at Lumbini after which his mobile appeared switched off and his family lost contact with him, said the spokesperson.
Dr Faisal said that investigations revealed that the UK cell number of Mr. Mark was fake and actually is an internet/computer generated number.
The website that he was contacted from was found to be operated from India and was subsequently taken down, the spokesperson said and added that the government of Nepal constituted a special team to look into his disappearance but there has not been any progress in the matter so far.
The spokesperson said, “In view of his disappearance from Lumbini, which is 5 kilometers from the Indian border and the involvement of Indian nationals, Pakistan also repeatedly requested the government of India to assist in locating him. However, no positive response has been received from the Indian side.”