Federal govt might invoke Article 149 in Karachi: Farogh Naseem

KARACHI: Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem on Wednesday said circumstances in Sindh, particularly Karachi, are such that the federal government could invoke Article 149 (4) of the Constitution in the metropolis.

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Speaking to media, the law minister said, “this is my personal opinion. And, I will table it before the Karachi Strategic Committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

He said, “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 Khan is scheduled to visit Karachi on September 14. During this visit, the premier will preside a meeting of the Karachi Strategic Committee.

Article 149 (4) of the Constitution states: 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, tranquility or economic life of Pakistan or any part thereof.

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

The idea of the Eighteenth Amendment, he elaborated, was 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.

Naseem noted, “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.”

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

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

Earlier, this week, PM Khan formed a high-level committee to come up with the short-, medium- and long-term measures for the betterment of Karachi.

The Law Minister Naseem, an ally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the ruling coalition at the centre will lead the Karachi Strategic Committee.

The committee comprise of 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.

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