Mayor Karachi voices support for federal govt's 'steps within constitutional limits'

Updated September 12, 2019

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Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar addressing an event on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar addressing an event on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar on Thursday said that his support will remain with the federal government on issues related to the city as long as steps taken are within the limits of the Constitution.

Akhtar's remarks come a day after Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem disclosed that the federal government was considering taking over the administrative affairs of Karachi by enforcing a constitutional clause that he believes permits it to do so.

Addressing an event, the city's mayor today extended his support to any constitutional step that was for the betterment of the metropolis.

"Karachi provides revenue to the entire country. Over 30 million people live here, there are two ports in the country and this city is recognised in the world.

"If this city is neglected, it does not send a good message to the entire country. People come here from all across the country for business opportunities and jobs, you are ruining that."

On Wednesday, Dr Naseem had told Dawn that a 'strategic committee' on Karachi was going to recommend to Prime Minister Imran Khan that he invoke Article 149 for the uplift of Karachi.

Read: PM forms committee to address Karachi’s misery

"After getting approval of the cabinet, the provision will be exercised and in case of any resistance shown by the provincial government, we will approach the Supreme Court under Article 184(1) of the Constitution to seek a directive in this regard. If the province still shows reluctance, we will file a contempt petition in the SC," he had said.

The minister had also told news channels that right now it was his personal view that the centre should take over Karachi’s affairs. He added that any decision was likely to be taken by Prime Minister Imran during his visit to the metropolis on September 14.

The law minister, who is an MQM-P senator, talked to different news channels, saying that Karachi’s situation demanded the federal government play its role in resolving people’s problems without imposing governor’s rule or emergency.

"I do not know whether the federal government will accept my suggestion, but in my opinion there is no other solution except this [imposition of Article 149(4)] since other steps are extreme," he said, referring to governor’s rule and declaration of emergency.

He noted that Article 149(4) was an independent article, which had been retained by PPP and the PML-N when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was passed. He was of the view that the said article was not against provincial autonomy.

Article 149(4) reads: "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 tranquillity or economic life of Pakistan or any part thereof."

Following the news of the federal government's considerations regarding the city, Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani had also joined the debate on Wednesday night and said that Article 149(4) should be enforced in Punjab or in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where law and order situation and economy were "not as good compared to Sindh".

He added that there was no need to enforce the article in Sindh, where, he claimed, the situation is much better than other parts of the country.

According to recently released findings of the Global Livability Index, Karachi is the fifth-worst city in the world to live in.