PM signals Article 140A for Karachi’s civic issues

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By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the federal government was in favour of full implementation of Article 140A of the Constitution to address the longstanding problems of Karachi.
“The longstanding problems of Karachi cannot be solved unless the elected local government representatives of the people of Karachi become financially, politically and administratively autonomous in the spirit of the constitution,” the prime minister said in a statement.
Article 140A of the Constitution states: “Each Province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility, and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments.” The prime minister directed the Attorney General for Pakistan to request the Supreme Court for an early hearing and disposal of the petition pending before the august court regarding Article 140A.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan, praising the measures taken for tele-schooling and provision of education through internet, said on Tuesday that facilitation of youth towards education was a must for utilization of their talent.
He was heading a high-level meeting here about ensuring enhanced and improved coverage of internet in the country. Issues of the telecom sector were also discussed. Federal ministers, including Shafqat Mehmood and Asad Umar, PM’s Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant to PM Tania Aidrus, secretary Information Technology, chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Universal Service Fund (USF) and other officers attended the meeting.
The prime minister lauded the measures taken by USF about broadening the mobile and internet coverage, especially in the backward and inaccessible areas, and directed to speed up all the necessary steps for the inclusion of priority sectors like education in the jurisdiction of USF. Provision of cheaper internet packages for easy internet access for the youth was ordered and he directed to consider the telecom issues in the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) and take decisions within the next two weeks. The meeting discussed in detail the measures being taken to ensure enhanced and improved internet coverage and addressing the issues relating to the telecom sector. During the meeting, views were also exchanged on various USF projects for ensuring mobile and internet coverage in the country’s backward areas.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday urged the volunteers of the Tiger Force to fully participate in the tree plantation drive being launched on August 9, which would be celebrated as Tiger Force Day throughout the country. In his special message broadcast on Pakistan Television, the prime minister said the Tiger Force would lead the record single day tree plantation drive on August 9. Referring to the government’s ambitious plan of planting 10 billion plants till the year 2023, he also urged his cabinet members, parliamentarians, students and people from all sections of society to join the national campaign to be led by the force comprising one million registered volunteers.
“I will also participate in the campaign along with Tiger Force, ” he added. Dilating upon the significance of the plantation drive, the prime minister said Pakistan had been among the ten countries of the world mostly affected with the global warming.