Pakistani man demands return of ‘spy’ pigeon detained in India

Raza Hamdani

“All India has to do is add Pakistan dialling code before the so-called coded message attached with the pigeon and they can talk to me.”

This is 42 years old Habibullah who is a resident of a village in Narowal, merely four kilometres away from the Working Boundary between India and Pakistan in Sialkot sector. He claims that the “Pakistani spy” detained by Indian forces is his pet female pigeon.

Demanding an apology from Indian government and Indian media, he said, “Neither anyone from India nor from Pakistan has contacted me over this spy row. If we can return Indian pilot, India can also return my pigeon with respect.”

According to Times of India, the pigeon was found by a woman, resident of Kathua district.

It quoted Kathua Police Senior Superintendent Shailendra Kumar Mishra saying, “We don't know from where it came. Locals captured it near our fences. We have found a ring in its foot on which some numbers are written. Further investigation is underway.”

Habibullah told The Independent the name of the detained pigeon is a year old black and white female pigeon is Golden Madi. She is black and white but pink has been sprayed on her. She has a bracelet around her foot on which his contact number is inscribed.

Habibullah is a resident of Bugga Village in Narowal. He said, “On Eid day, I let about 12 pigeons, including Golden Madi, fly. All pigeons returned except Golden Madi.” He added that later he came to through news that his pigeon has been arrested by Indian forces.

“I have almost 250 pigeons and have been keeping pigeons for the last 30 years or so. I just want my Golden Madi back so that she can participate in pigeon competition due to take place on Thursday.”

Talking about the competition he said that the competition takes place twice a year and the winner is the one whose pigeon flies the longest time. “We have been training the pigeons for the last one month. I was so sure of winning this competition and prize money with Golden Madi flying.”

Habibullah said the pigeon's breed has the ability to fly for 12 to 13 hours at a stretch.

Explaining the code attached to the bird's foot that Indian officials are investigating, he said owners attach contact numbers to pigeons’ feet so that people could return them.

“Golden Madi also have a ring attached to her foot with my contact number inscribed on it. All Indian forces have to do is add dialling code 0092 before the number and they can ascertain that she is my pet and not a spy.”

This is not the first time that a pigeon has been labelled a “spy” and detained. In 2015, a pigeon was intercepted in Manwal village of India. The pigeon was stamped with “Tehsil Shakargarh, district Narowal”. Shakargarh is the same place where pigeon flying competition takes place twice a year and in which Habibullah also wanted Golden Madi to participate.

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