ISLAMABAD - An apparent lack of coordination among state institutions and “overstepping” of powers by a component of the Civil Armed Forces led to a fiasco at the main gate of the judicial complex on the occasion of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s second appearance before the accountability court here on Monday, The Nation has learnt.

The Rangers “suddenly appeared” and restricted the entry of general public as well as political figures into the complex “at their own and without any orders from the high ups”, provoking Ahsan Iqbal to say that he did not order the Rangers to take up security duties and that he was not ready to work as a “puppet interior minister”.

The Rangers stopped the federal ministers accompanying Nawaz Sharif at the judicial complex gates and later their own boss, the interior minister too after he was called by Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry in the wake of the restriction by the paramilitary force.

Rangers and the district administration are under the administrative control of the interior ministry.

The former prime minister had reached the accountability court for a hearing of the corruption references against him.

Sources told The Nation that Rangers were not called to the accountability court.

“Only two [teams of] Quick Reaction Force (QRFs) were incorporated in the security plan of the Security Division, which were required to do patrolling duty in the vicinity of [the] judicial complex in Sector G-11/1. [Patrolling by the] QRF is a routine duty but Rangers troops occupied all gates and started denying entry,” said the sources in the police when asked to comment on what led to the fiasco.

“Reportedly, the interior minister got the message that ministers and other N-League supporters are not being allowed inside the complex. He [Ahsan] reached the spot and he too was denied entry,” the sources added.

They further said that the SSP concerned had requested through a letter to the deputy commissioner for approaching the relevant quarters for provision of 200 personnel of the Pakistan Rangers for security duty, but the DC had denied the request.

However, the SSP had also forwarded a copy of that letter to the commander Punjab Rangers (Islamabad), which might have resulted into the law enforcers taking positions at the judicial complex.

Interestingly, Rangers never come on the ground in Islamabad unless called by the chief commissioner, the sources further said.

Talking to the media before departing from the court in protest, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal lashed out at the Rangers for stopping him, other PML-N leaders, lawyers and supporters of the disqualified prime minister from entering the court.

He said that the courts were places that are open to public and it was only during martial law governments that closed trials were conducted. Trials held in democracies must be transparent, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the Islamabad chief commissioner had decided on the names of media persons and the PML-N leaders and supporters who would be allowed to enter the court but suddenly Rangers appeared and took the security duties.

He said that the chief commissioner informed him that when he told Rangers officials that a plan had been prepared in advance, which would be followed for entry into the court, the Rangers officials in command refused to accept the plan and said that they would follow the orders they had been given and would not allow anyone but Nawaz Sharif to enter the court.

The minister said that he was forced to take notice of the situation because Rangers was a force subordinate to the interior ministry and when they were deployed, they were supposed to work under the command of the civil administration.

He further said that if the Rangers had violated orders of the civil administration, a high-level inquiry would be ordered into the matter and it would be determined who challenged the “writ of the government”.

The minister said that the commander of the Rangers vanished when he was called to discuss the situation outside the complex.

Ahsan also threatened to resign if the rules did not become clear about what the writ of the state and the civil administration was.

He said that there would be one law and one government here. Two governments could not function within one state.

The letter written by the SSP had requested the deputy commissioner to approve the deployment of 200 Rangers personnel at the Judicial Complex on Monday.

The letter, which surfaced after Monday’s fiasco, asks the DC to deploy Rangers officials around the premises “to perform duty along with police”.

“The Rangers officials will not be directly involved in dealing with the public during their duties along with [the] police,” the letter said.

Rangers and the district administration are under the administrative control of the interior ministry.

The former prime minister had reached the accountability court for a hearing of the corruption references against him.

Sources told The Nation that Rangers were not called to the accountability court.

“Only two [teams of] Quick Reaction Force (QRFs) were incorporated in the security plan of the Security Division, which were required to do patrolling duty in the vicinity of [the] judicial complex in Sector G-11/1. [Patrolling by the] QRF is a routine duty but Rangers troops occupied all gates and started denying entry,” said the sources in the police when asked to comment on what led to the fiasco.

“Reportedly, the interior minister got the message that ministers and other N-League supporters are not being allowed inside the complex. He [Ahsan] reached the spot and he too was denied entry,” the sources added.

They further said that the SSP concerned had requested through a letter to the deputy commissioner for approaching the relevant quarters for provision of 200 personnel of the Pakistan Rangers for security duty, but the DC had denied the request.

However, the SSP had also forwarded a copy of that letter to the commander Punjab Rangers (Islamabad), which might have resulted into the law enforcers taking positions at the judicial complex.

Interestingly, Rangers never come on the ground in Islamabad unless called by the chief commissioner, the sources further said.

Talking to the media before departing from the court in protest, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal lashed out at the Rangers for stopping him, other PML-N leaders, lawyers and supporters of the disqualified prime minister from entering the court.

He said that the courts were places that are open to public and it was only during martial law governments that closed trials were conducted. Trials held in democracies must be transparent, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the Islamabad chief commissioner had decided on the names of media persons and the PML-N leaders and supporters who would be allowed to enter the court but suddenly Rangers appeared and took the security duties.

He said that the chief commissioner informed him that when he told Rangers officials that a plan had been prepared in advance, which would be followed for entry into the court, the Rangers officials in command refused to accept the plan and said that they would follow the orders they had been given and would not allow anyone but Nawaz Sharif to enter the court.

The minister said that he was forced to take notice of the situation because Rangers was a force subordinate to the interior ministry and when they were deployed, they were supposed to work under the command of the civil administration.

He further said that if the Rangers had violated orders of the civil administration, a high-level inquiry would be ordered into the matter and it would be determined who challenged the “writ of the government”.

The minister said that the commander of the Rangers vanished when he was called to discuss the situation outside the complex.

Ahsan also threatened to resign if the rules did not become clear about what the writ of the state and the civil administration was.

He said that there would be one law and one government here. Two governments could not function within one state.

The letter written by the SSP had requested the deputy commissioner to approve the deployment of 200 Rangers personnel at the Judicial Complex on Monday.

The letter, which surfaced after Monday’s fiasco, asks the DC to deploy Rangers officials around the premises “to perform duty along with police”.

“The Rangers officials will not be directly involved in dealing with the public during their duties along with [the] police,” the letter said.