Options for Karachi

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THERE are renewed speculations about possibility of Karachi being handed over to the Federation citing its multi-dimensional problems that have made life of the people miserable. Attorney-General Khalid Javed Khan told a three member bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the federal government was considering all options provided under the Constitution and will not hesitate from taking all possible administrative and legal options to reverse the situation.
The plight of people of Karachi is being highlighted these days — thanks to the keen interest being taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad who is heading the bench hearing petitions against illegal encroachments on public parks, amenity lands, revival of the Karachi Circular Railways and unauthorized multi-storeyed buildings in the city. The remarks of the court that should it ask the Centre to intervene in the situation are also being interpreted in different ways in the prevailing circumstances.
There is no doubt that the situation in Karachi was pathetic but it would not be fair to apportion the blame on the provincial government alone as there are problems and issues that are directly concerned with the federal or local governments like electricity situation and waste disposal. Existing constitutional arrangements present no hurdle to plans and efforts designed to solve problems of the city as we have seen in the case of NDMA assisting the civil authorities in the gigantic task of cleaning and waste disposal. Federal Government or any institution can be associated with the provincial government in resolving issues of Karachi which should not be handled in a way that could be interpreted as interference in provincial autonomy.