Wide Open Civil-Military Cracks
Some latest developments have shown visible cracks between civilian government and the military leadership suggesting tense relationship between the two as an incident of deployment of Rangers personnel in Federal Judicial Complex demonstrated. Reportedly, on 2 October, all visitors including ministers, senior politicians, media-persons, lawyers and litigants were barred from entering the Federal Judicial Complex (FJC) by Rangers officials. Confusion prevailed over who had deployed the paramilitary force on court premises. The ICT administration insisted that it had not requested Rangers deployment at the court, and that capital police, which had around 1,500 personnel at the scene, was responsible for security. According to a statement issued by the deputy commissioner’s office: “Rangers was not requisitioned by the ICT Administration for any kind of deployment in the premises of court on [Oct 2, 2017].” However, paramilitary officials arrived at the scene shortly after police officials and began taking over security arrangements.
After refusal from Rangers personnel to enter court, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that “closed trials are a hallmark of martial laws”. Talking to media outside the NAB court, he said that he would choose to resign rather than be a “puppet minister” asserting, “State within the state would not be allowed and civil authority would be held supreme”. The minister complained that the Rangers appeared to have been working according to their own free will. “The matter would be investigated and disciplinary action would be taken against whosoever is found responsible. I can’t be a puppet (interior) minister. Writ of the state would be maintained,” he asserted. Later, Iqbal also lashed out at the assistant commissioner for the state of affairs, demanding in writing what had happened today. The minister said this is not a banana republic, it is a constitutional republic.
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