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Centre Considering Expanding Federal Authority To Karachi Through Article 149

The Federal Law and Justice Minister Farogh Naseem has hinted at the federal government taking over the administrative control of Karachi from the provincial government of Sindh.

According to a report in Express Tribune, in light of the poor infrastructure and lack of civic amenities in the port city, the federal government is contemplating making Karachi a separate administrative unit.

In this regard, Farogh Naseem informed media that the federal government had the option to invoke Article 149(4).

According to the said article, the executive authority of the federation can extend to the giving of directions to a province for the purpose of maintaining the peace and economic life of any region.

Recently, a high-level committee, to be headed by the federal law minister, was formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan to create plans to fix the issues being faced by Karachi’s residents. The committee had been directed to suggest short, medium and long-term measures to make Karachi better.

Farogh Naseem has held the Pakistan Peoples Party responsible for the ills plaguing Sindh, especially Karachi.

The law minister said that the Centre can request the provincial government to hand over administrative control of Karachi to the former through Article 149(4).

He further warned that in case the proposal was opposed, the Centre would approach the Supreme Court in this regard.

Elaborating on the article, the minister said, “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, tranquillity and economic life.”

He clarified that the article does not call for the imposition of governor rule or emergency.

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Farogh also apprised media of the fact that the they were pursuing legal action and had prepared a draft that would be presented to the prime minister within a week.

The federal minister also said, “There is nothing there [in Karachi] except garbage, shortage of water and flies.”

He said that the said article does not threaten provincial autonomy, though it was natural to expect resistance from the Pakistan People’s Party.

The minister was of the view that the article was not against provincial autonomy, saying that it was retained in the 18th amendment, and had it been the case that it was detrimental to provincial autonomy, it would have been excluded from the constitution.

Upon being questioned about who would have control over the city, the minister declined to give details about who would be responsible for governing Karachi after enforcement of Article 149.

“We also have other legal options if things don’t pan out as planned,” the minister concluded.

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