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LAHORE: The PML-N says what was done to Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal at the accountability court in Islamabad is nothing new as during the last four years this ministry has faced similar situations many times but avoided raising its voice against those behind such incidents.

Explore: 'Whose orders is Rangers following?' Ahsan Iqbal lashes out at force for blocking entry to court

It says the difference between today’s incident in which Mr Iqbal was not allowed to enter the court premises by the Rangers and the other “unreported” matters is that the people this time have come to know who is actually calling the shots in the country.

The interior minister had gone to the Judicial Complex to attend the accountability court’s proceedings against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

“Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan faced similar situations on many occasions during the last four-year tenure of the PML-N, but he preferred to keep mum. Today Ahsan Iqbal faced such a situation, but it was exposed because the camera captured it,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said.

Talking to Dawn here on Monday, Mr Sanaullah compared Mr Iqbal with Mr Nisar and said the former at least lodged his protest and threatened to resign over this “humiliating incident” but the latter (Nisar) never even dared to protest such incidents during his tenure (as interior minister).

Citing the incident of bloggers’ disappearance, the law minister said Chaudhry Nisar had come to know that he had no power (in such matters) but he never protested.

He was of the view that Chaudhry Nisar had never been a “powerful minister”.

“Had he been (powerful), the PML-N would not have reached the state of affairs it is finding itself in today,” he said.

Rana Sanaullah said the incident had exposed who was in power in reality in the country.

“Today everyone witnessed the state of so-called civilian supremacy in the country,” he said, adding the PML-N would no more be apologetic or defensive on such matters.

“Resignation of Ahsan Iqbal is no solution. Rather the PML-N should face such situations and expose those behind it,” he suggested.

Chaudhry Nisar took exception to Mr Sana’s remarks, saying that he was a “powerful minister” and nobody should pass comments on his tenure as interior minister. “I do not authorise anyone to make a judgement on my powers (as interior minister),” a spokesman for Mr Nisar said quoting him.

Sana’s remarks about Nisar reflect feelings of the PML-N leaders close to the Sharifs. Although on his return from London, Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with Chaudhry Nisar to sort out certain issues, the PML-N hawks think the latter is no more on the Sharifs’ side.

“Chaudhry Nisar is angry man of the PML-N. He will continue to criticise the PML-N leadership, especially the hawks, who he believes are responsible for the fate of the Sharif family, but will remain in the party,” another PML-N leader from Punjab said.

He said the PML-N government had decided to fight the internal challenges and “we will not make it easy for others to implement their script”.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017