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Senate to discuss disappearance of retired army officer in Nepal

Updated April 21, 2017
RETIRED Lt Col Mohammad Habib went missing from an area 5km from Nepal’s border with India.
RETIRED Lt Col Mohammad Habib went missing from an area 5km from Nepal’s border with India.

ISLAMABAD: The Senate will discuss on Friday (today) disappearance of a retired army officer in Nepal amid reports suggesting that he has been picked up by operatives of the Indian intelligence agency RAW to mount pressure on Pakistan for the release of its officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by an army tribunal.

An adjournment motion moved by Senator Atiq Ahmad Sheikh of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) seeking a debate on the issue was admitted by the chair on Thursday.

The house was informed that retired Lt Col Mohammad Habib went missing from an area about five kilometres from Nepal’s border with India. Since then his mobile phone has not been responding.

In a short statement, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Mr Habib was received at Kathmandu airport by some Indian people, adding that his family had sought help of the United Nations for his recovery.

Mr Aziz also told the house that efforts were continuing to seek release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had written a letter to the-then US president Barack Obama during his last days in office, seeking mercy for Dr Siddiqui, but the request was rejected. Among other things, he said, she was constantly being provided consular access.

Responding to a call-attention notice from the MQM’s Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, the adviser said since the brutal killing of Kashmiri youth Burhan Wani last year, 250 Kashmiris had been killed and scores of others injured and taken into custody in India-held Kashmir.

Recently people rejected sham and farcical by-election in occupied Kashmir while Indian forces used brute force, which claimed nine lives, including that of a child, he said. A college was also raided in Pulwama and videos of violence on students are available on social media.

He said the government was taking every possible step to highlight Indian brutalities against Kashmiri people and also using diplomatic channels for this purpose.

The Senate will receive an in-camera briefing on a recent ruling of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in relation to denial of a mining lease of Reko Diq project to a company in its next session scheduled for May 8.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the house that the issue was under litigation and he was ready to give an in-camera briefing to the house.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2017