Pakistan recalls ISI handler from its Colombo mission

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

 NEW DELHI, October 15: Pakistan has recalled its counsellor Amir Zubair Siddiqui from its High Commission in Colombo, The Asian Age newspaper reported today.

Islamabad was apparently embarrassed by the exposure of his Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) connection, and his link to a spy in Tamil Nadu, in the media in India and Sri Lanka.

The Tamil Nadu police had accused Siddiqui of recruiting a vegetable exporter from Thanjavur to procure information on military establishments in south India, including a highly-sensitive nuclear submarine project near Visakhapatnam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state.

Pakistan has been worried ever since work began in 2009 on the INR 600-billion secret submatine project codenamed "Project Varsha."

Siddiqui used to work at the Pakistan high commission in Colombo under the deceptive title of counsellor (visa). He was reportedly assigned the task of organising ISI’s infiltration into south India, the newspaper quoted unidentified "sources" as saying.

One of his operations was to recruit the Thanjavur vegetable exporter, Thameem Ansari, through two Colombo-based agents, Haji and Shaji, for procuring information about military establishments in south India.

Siddiqui’s scheme went awry when the Tamil Nadu "Q" branch police caught him just before he boarded a plane to Colombo on September 17 with videos and documents relating to some military establishments.

Q nabbed Siddiqui with help from the Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence network.

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