Law Minister Farogh Naseem hinted on Wednesday at the federation’s intent to invoke Article 149 (4) in Karachi.
The minister said the time had come to impose Article 149 (4) in Karachi, given the deteriorating situation of the megapolis. “Neither does Article 149 (4) speak of governor rule, nor of imposing an emergency,” Naseem told ARY News.
“It is an independent article, which says that the federal government has an executive authority under which it can issue directives to any provincial government, if there are issues pertaining to peace, tranquility and economic life,” he explained.
Under Article 149 (4), 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 minister said the people bear witness to Karachi’s situation over the last 11 years. “There is nothing there except garbage, shortage of water and flies.”
He said the Centre expects resistance from the PPP on the imposition of the article, however, ruled out the notion that it threatens provincial autonomy. “They are our brothers and sisters. They are very good people and they will definitely complain about every adequate thing,” Naseem remarked sarcastically.
“It is their right and it should not be snatched away from them,” he said.
He noted that the article was retained in the 18th Amendment. “If it was against provincial autonomy, then it should have been excluded from the Constitution.”
The minister, however, declined to give details as to who would be responsible for governing the megapolis after the enforcement of the article. “We will unfold it slowly and gradually,” he said.
Previously, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail had said that there were too many authorities in Karachi, due to which issues were not resolved. He had said that his party wanted a single authority in Karachi. However, Naseem clarified that the governor’s comments pertained to the unity of command and did not concern the imposition of Article 149.
Reacting to this news, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani said the federal government cannot take over Sindh. You cannot impose Article 149 on the basis of mere garbage, he said, adding that if the Centre wanted to impose Article 149, it should do so in Punjab.
Farogh Naseem is a sensible person but unfortunately he is not a politician, said Ghani, asking the federal government to stop this drama of committees. He said the MQM is being used by the PTI.
Ali Zaidi has spread garbage all over Karachi, said Ghani, adding that if the prime minister got to know what Zaidi had done under the Clean Karachi campaign, then he would be fired.