The “kidnapping” case of a retired Pakistan army officer in Nepal could not be taken to the ICJ or the UN on the basis of “assumptions” as there is no “concrete evidence” suggesting India’s hand in it, a minister has told Parliament. Minister for States and Frontier Regions Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch said it was yet to be established that Muhammad Habib Zahir had been picked up by the Indian forces, Dawn reported.
“No final report suggesting that the Indian intelligence agency (RAW) or the Indian government was involved is available with the Foreign Office (FO) or the government,” he said while winding up a discussion on an adjournment motion in the Senate on Wednesday.
Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani asked if the statement meant that the Foreign Office was exonerating India from the kidnapping of Habib as the minister had admitted “absence of concrete evidence”. Baloch replied in negative, saying: “We are hundred per cent sure that Indian intelligence agency RAW is behind the kidnapping, but the evidence to this effect is not final”.
The issue appeared to have a link with the conviction of Kulbushan Jadhav, he said, but stressed that material was required to legally prove it. Baloch told the Senate that the issue of “kidnapping” of Habib in Nepal some two months ago could not be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or the United Nations “on the basis of assumptions”, the report said.
The FO was trying to obtain solid evidence and the Nepalese government had been asked to get in touch with three Indians who had received Habib at the airport, Baloch said. He said it was still not clear whether the three people were Indian government employees or civilians or working for a private firm. The matter has also been taken up with India.
The minister said the incident took place two months ago, but expressed his helplessness about non-cooperation from Nepal, saying no sovereign country could be pressured. The Senate chairman directed Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to brief the house on the steps taken by the government on the mysterious disappearance of Habib, the current regional situation with a reference to Qatar crisis among others.