This could happen only in Pakistan democracy. The para military forces defying their political boss – the interior minister, from entering into a court premise. Neither the interior ministry ordered them, nor the Courts requested them. The interior minister had no clue under whose orders the Rangers were deployed in the Court premises, and has threatened to resign!
It all started on 02 October morning, when Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s Interior Minister was accompanying Nawaz Sharif to a court proceeding in Islamabad. The Rangers, who function under the interior ministry, prevented their minister from entering into the Courts.
The primary question in the immediate context is: who had deployed them? The Court officials have made it clear that there was no request from them. A letter issued later from the Office of the District Magistrate of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) says: “Rangers was not requisitioned by the ICT for any kind of deployment in the premises of the Court on 2nd October 2017”. Then on whose orders were they deployed?
The larger question is what does this mean for the ongoing cases against Nawaz Sharif. He has been complaining about a conspiracy by certain actors outside the political institutions. In the public literature, there is adequate reference to actors who tried to influence the entire process through and outside the Courts. The October 2 incident would further question the entire judicial process leading to the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
Finally, what will the political institutions do further on this case – from the Parliament to government and the opposition? The interior minister has threatened to resign; perhaps, he would be asked to remain silent. He roared about an inquiry into the incident. Pakistan’s shelves are full of such inquiry reports, which never saw the light of the day. The interior minister also said: “I cannot be a puppet interior minister… There can’t be a state within state.”
Perhaps, there is. Will the opposition parties come together and make a stand in the Parliament and ensure that the latter remains supreme? Or, given Pakistan’s history, will this issue also die subsequently?