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ISLAMABAD: Though an inquiry into a protest in front of the Supreme Court by PML-N workers on April 13 is still ongoing, a police officer suspended over the incident has been reinstated.

Ahmed Iqbal was reinstated as the superintendent of police (SP) city by the chief commissioner on the recommendation of the inspector general of police (IGP), a police officer told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

Ruling party workers had held the protest after the lifetime disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the apex court.

Mr Iqbal and the Secretariat station house officer (SHO) was suspended while Senior Superintendent of Police Security Jameel Hashmi was removed from his post and surrendered to the Establishment Division. An inquiry was ordered by the IGP.

The police officer said SP Saddar Aamir Khan Nazi was given the additional charge of the city after the suspension of Mr Iqbal. However, Mr Niazi is now also facing an inquiry in connection with the manhandling of journalists during a Press Freedom Day rally on May 3.A number of officials, except for SSP Hashmi, were questioned regarding the SC protest. Though Mr Hashmi had prepared a report and submitted it to the police, it was ignored.

In his report, Mr Hashmi said he had issued a security order on April 12 and security inside and around the court had been enhanced by deploying 69 officials. “The overall supervision was assigned to the SP Supreme Court.”

Besides being SSP security, Mr Hashmi said he also held additional charge of the Special Branch. Three officials of the Special Branch were already deployed at the SC and were led by a sub-inspector.

On April 13, police were also on duty at the judicial complex in connection with the hearing of the Panama Papers reference and for the sessions of the Senate and National Assembly. “I was supervising all the duties,” he added.

At about 11:45am, Mr Hashmi was informed that some PML-N women activists had gathered in front of the public entry gate of the SC, and then the SHO Secretariat reached there. Later, the women forcibly entered the parking area of the court and moved to the lawyers’ gate after crossing a barrier.

In his report, the SSP security held another officer responsible for not cooperating and tackling the situation despite being instructed by him. He also accused his high-ups of victimising him and saving their favoured individuals.

Some officers of the police added that only rankers were suspended in such cases while no action was taken against the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers. It has yet to be cleared whether the incident was a failure of the operation or the security wings of the police.

The protesters reached the SC after passing through the limits of the operation wing and staged the protest at the SC parking area located in the jurisdiction of the security wing, they added.

When contacted, IGP Dr Sultan Azam Temuri said SP Ahmed Iqbal was reinstated as SP city because he had been cleared. He added that the protest took place in the limits of the SC.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2018