Do Indian spies have more rights than a Pakistani citizen?: SC

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ISLAMABAD: “When an Indian spy can be allowed to meet his wife, why does a Pakistani citizen not have the same right?” Justice Dost Mohammad Khan asked while hearing the missing person case in the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday.

These remarks were made by Justice Khan after the father of ‘missing person’, Tasif Malik, lamented that he had not been allowed to see his son for more than three minutes.

This is not the first time that he has been denied his basic human rights. ‘Missing person’, Tasif had been traced back in 2014. After hearing his case, the SC ordered a meeting of his family members with him within 24 hours, however, it was informed by Colonel (retd) Inam ur Rahim, counsel for Dr Abida Malik, wife of Tasif Malik, that the meeting had never taken place.

“The same day was fixed deliberately for a meeting when the case was to be heard by you,” he told Justice Nasirul Mulk.

In a previous hearing, the SC had directed authorities to ensure Malik’s meeting with his family which was of no avail.

The ordeal of the Malik family is still not over. Two years later, after a series of adjourned and delayed hearings, Malik is still held in a detention centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), while the chief justice ‘regrets that such an important case has been brought before the court after two years’.

In a report submitted to the apex court by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, it was stated that 1,498 cases of enforced disappearances were pending with the commission by the end of November.

The majority of pending cases were from KP with 837 pending cases, followed by 273 cases of Punjab, 126 cases each from Sindh and Balochistan, 63 cases from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and 52 from the capital territory.

The report stated that over 3,000 cases had been disposed of until November since 2011.

Fear and harassment is a normal occurrence for the affected families.

Intimidation by the Military Intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and the Inter-Services Intelligence is also common. Their presence keeps people from saying what they want to. Speaking to the press back in 2014, Asma Jahangir had recalled an incident where an official of a security agency accused of nabbing a person was seen attending a hearing of the commission.

The military and civil institutions should ensure the Constitution is made a part of the curriculum. Those who make people go missing have lost their credibility in the eyes of the court,” said Justice Khan during Monday’s hearing, without naming an individual or an institution.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, was hearing the case. They were informed by the government’s lawyer that some people in the missing persons’ list had gone away by choice.

“It is impossible to believe that the agencies have no clue about the missing persons,” said Justice Afzal, adding that there has to be a logical argument behind any story for it to be believed.

He observed that the court was helpless since the facts were being withheld. “The death of one person is like the death of all humanity for us,” he said.

The court ordered a detailed report on the Tasif Malik case from the KP government and asked for a report on all missing persons’ cases after completing legal action to be submitted within two months.

The hearing was adjourned until January 9.