The federal and Sindh governments on Sunday decided to set aside their differences for the betterment of Karachi and formed a committee comprising representatives from the city’s three main stakeholders, the PPP, PTI and MQM, to address the city’s issues.
The development came after Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Education Minister Saeed Ghani and Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah met with Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister Asad Umar and Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar in Islamabad.
According to the provincial information minister, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal also present at the meeting.
It was decided that the three parties would work together to address the civic problems of the metropolis. The NDMA's role in mitigating the woes of Karachi was also discussed.
Briefing reporters about the meeting, provincial government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab said the committee, headed by the Sindh chief minister, would comprise provincial ministers Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani representing the PPP, federal ministers Asad Umar and Ali Zaidi of the PTI and Federal IT and Telecom Minister Aminul Haque of the MQM.
“The committee will remove obstacles hindering development work in the city,” said Wahab, adding that the PPP-led Sindh government was always willing to work with others for the betterment of the province. “The problems can be resolved if the [federal and Sindh] governments work together.”
In a video message, provincial information minister Nasir Hussain Shah said the commitment of the three political parties to work together for the betterment of Karachi was a welcome development.
“Sindh, including Karachi, have made record progress under the leadership of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari,” he maintained. “The alliance of the three parties will not please the enemies of Karachi:”
“The provincial government will welcome any individual or party willing to work for Karachi's progress," he said. “The Sindh government had welcomed the federal government and the NDMA’s initiative when it came to cleaning the city’s drains.”
Nasir said the PPP chairman had inaugurated development projects worth billions of rupees. “This has not been seen in any other province of the country.”
After federal government directed the NDMA to clean storm-water drains in Karachi, rumours have been afloat about the Centre’s plans to take control of the city. They were further fuelled by Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed stating before the Supreme Court that the federal government was considering various legal and constitutional options for the city.
In response, the PPP chairman alleged has said that the federal government was trying to "occupy" the port city to turn it into its "colony".
He said that such a move would be unconstitutional and if it is given some cover from a court then the decision would be similar to that of the Supreme Court's verdict against his grandfather former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged on April 4, 1979, after an apex court verdict.
On Friday, CM Murad Ali Shah dismissed the idea of handing over administrative control of the provincial capital to the Centre.
"If anyone has developed any idea of separating Karachi from Sindh, they should take it out of their mind," he said, warning that the province's people would resist such plans.
The CM said the notion of ruling the port city from the Centre, with the PTI at the helm, was not plausible. "Karachi is not the PTI government's cup of tea."
He argued that Sindh's people had given their mandate to the PPP, adding that no provision in the constitution allowed federal rule over a provincial capital. "This is merely wishful thinking by some politically and constitutionally empty-minded people."