PPP, PTI leaders wrangle over implications of Article 149

Updated September 13, 2019

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Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem’s statement of invoking Article 149 of the Constitution for the uplift of Karachi has sparked a new controversy in the province. — Photo courtesy Ali Raza Khatri/File
Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem’s statement of invoking Article 149 of the Constitution for the uplift of Karachi has sparked a new controversy in the province. — Photo courtesy Ali Raza Khatri/File

KARACHI: Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem’s statement of invoking Article 149 of the Constitution for the uplift of Karachi has sparked a new controversy in the province.

Talking to journalists in his office on Thursday, Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh said that the proposal of enforcement of the article was a conspiracy against the elected government of Sindh. “But rest assured, it would die by itself,” he added.

“The prime minister ought to think twice about its implications.”

He advised the federal government to avoid ‘interference’ in the Sindh government’s affairs to ‘weaken’ the Pakistan Peoples Party’s government.

Reacting on a statement of Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar in support of invoking Article 149, veteran PPP leader Waqar Mehdi claimed that whether it was the MQM-London or -Pakistan, they never backed the people nor had they worked for the betterment and progress of Karachi.

He said that people were quite aware that by supporting Article 149, the MQM was “pursuing the politics of disunity”.

“Could the mayor and the DMC chairmen of MQM tell us where they have spent the money,” he asked and added that he was asking this because the PTI’s federal minister had claimed that they were cleaning the drains of Karachi with the help of public contributions and donations.

He said that the federal government and its ministers should not play with sentiments of people and give up the dreams to win over Karachi with ‘illegal measures’.

PTI defends statement

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership, including Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdaus Shamim Naqvi and its parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Sheikh in a press conference held at the committee room of Sindh Assembly on Thursday defended the federal law minister’s statement saying that the PPP’s government had made Karachi “fourth dirtiest city of the world”, which had been turned into a city of garbage.

They said that the PTI did not believe in any unconstitutional acts aimed at separation of Karachi, but wanted to deliver to the people.

They said that the PPP government in Sindh despite being in power for the past 12 years had failed to bring any improvement not only in Karachi, but other parts of Sindh as well.

“When we talk about new Pakistan, people ask us what you have done during the last one year in power. We have repeatedly asked the Sindh government to improve the situation in the province, but the PPP leadership is not prepared to work,” Mr Naqvi said.

“Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, although an educated person, who talks about good governance, did not practice good governance.”

He said that the Green Line metro bus project had been planned for Karachi with two portions, one for the federal government and the other of the Sindh government.

“But the Sindh government did not carry out its responsibility like all other projects.”

He said that the purpose of the strategic committee on Karachi constituted by the prime minister was to make the Sindh government work.

PTI leader Haleem Sheikh said that “there is no drinking water in Karachi, which has compelled us to think about the betterment of the city and to provide people with better environment.”

He said Article 149 was not imposition of martial law.

The purpose of the committee was to make recommendations to solve peoples’ problems, he said adding that the PPP government’s ‘Sindh card’ would be no more valid to misguide people.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2019