Federal govt may take Karachi’s administrative control under Article 149 (4): minister

Web Desk
September 12, 2019

PM Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Karachi on September 14. During this visit, he will chair an important meeting of the Karachi Strategic Committee.

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KARACHI: Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem Wednesday said circumstances in Sindh, particularly Karachi, are such that directives could be issued under Article 149 (4) of the Constitution and the federal government is authorized to issue these directives.

“This is my personal opinion. And, I will table it before the Karachi Strategic Committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” the federal minister told Geo News late Wednesday.

“If the committee agrees with my analysis, the proposal will be presented to the premier and the cabinet. Then, it is at their disposal to invoke the article in Karachi or not.”

PM Imran Khan is scheduled to visit Karachi on September 14. During this visit, he will chair an important meeting of the Karachi Strategic Committee.

Article 149 (4) of the Constitution says: The executive authority of the Federation shall also extend to the giving of directions to a Province as to the manner in which the executive authority thereof is to be exercised for the purpose of preventing any grave menace to the peace or tranquility or economic life of Pakistan or any part thereof.

The federal minister said he supports promulgation of Article 149 (4) in Karachi, adding it is not the governor rule, instead it is meant to take the administrative control of Karachi without imposing emergency or the governor rule.

The idea of the Eighteenth Amendment, he explained, was meant to widen the provincial autonomy and offer increased empowerment of the third tier of the government, i.e. the local government, under Article 7 of the Constitution.

“But, the provincial government takes all the resources and money but nothing is spent on the masses,” he said, adding the issue is not specifically related to Karachi. In fact, it is the problem of nearly all the cities, towns and villages.

“If no money is spent on the people, it means the provincial government has rendered its third tier dysfunctional,” he said.

So, under the prevalent circumstances, the Eighteenth Amendment allows the mechanism of the Article 149 (4) to run the affairs without taking up any extreme steps, including imposition of emergency.

“If the governor rule is imposed, I would object to it,” he said. The Karachi situation is very bad and the infrastructure is lying in tatters.

PM Khan, earlier this week, formed a high-level committee to come up with the short-, medium- and long-term measures for the betterment of Karachi, according to a handout issued by the PM Office.

The Karachi Strategic Committee will be led by Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), an ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the ruling coalition at the centre.

Federal Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, Planning and Development Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and the director general of the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO), Major General Inam Haider Malik are its members.

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