"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 persons case in the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday.
Justice Khan made the remarks after the father of a 'missing person', Tasif Malik, complained that he was only allowed to meet Malik for three minutes. The SC in a previous hearing had ordered authorities to ensure that Malik — held in a detention centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — meets his family.
A report submitted to the apex court by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances said that 1,498 cases of enforced disappearances were pending with the commission by the end of last month.
The biggest chunk of the cases was from KP where 837 cases were pending, followed by Punjab with 273 cases and 126 cases each from Sindh and Balochistan. Sixty three cases from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and 52 from the capital territory were also pending with the court.
The report said that over 3,000 cases had been disposed off until November with 2,257 people traced since 2011.
During Monday's hearing, Justice Khan said that 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," he said, without naming an individual or an institution.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, was hearing the case.
The government's lawyer informed the court that some people in the missing persons list had actually went away out of their own will.
"It is impossible to believe that the agencies have no clue about missing persons," Justice Afzal said, adding that there has to be a logical argument behind any story for it to be believed.
He said that the court was helpless because it was not being told the truth. "The death of one person is like the death of all humanity for us," he said, adding that only those states which treat the death of one person like the death of the state continue to survive.
The petition regarding recovery of Mufti Mohammad Ismail was wrapped up after the court was informed he had been recovered.
The court ordered a detailed report on the Tasif Malik case from the KP government and asked the commission on missing persons to submit a report on all missing persons cases after completing legal action within two months.
The hearing was adjourned until January 9.