Once more when the nation needs to show solidarity against an external foe, the government has opened another unnecessary front which has divided the domestic political scene. The center’s wish to take control of Karachi through an constitutional ordinance has sparked fierce – and justified – resistance by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and other Sindh based parties.

Bilawal Bhutto’s comments following the announcement by the government may be incendiary, but that is exactly the sentiment that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government needs to understand. Pakistan was founded on the principle of provincial autonomy and the devolution of power, which considering its diverse ethnic and linguistic makeup is the correct form of federation to make. The 18th amendment affirmed this notion and any move to reverse this – by force no less – can be seen as a direct challenge to the foundational principle of Pakistan. So when Bilawal says that after “Bangladesh, Sindhudesh, Seraikidesh and Pukhtundesh can be formed” the government should pay heed instead of taking offense and making antagonistic statements, as the foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has done.

His second contention should also be considered in full. When Pakistan is protesting India’s unilateral action against the sovereignty of the Kashmiri people, it trying to unilaterally usurp the democratic right of the residents of Karachi is a contradiction in in terms. India has been quick to pick up divisions and internal cracks between Pakistani political parties to bolster its own narrative and it is sure to pick up on this to claim that Pakistan’s efforts to secure Kashmiri freedom are not sincere.

The government still has time, the move has not been approved by the cabinet and the conflict is still in its initial stages. PTI would do well to reconsider its reasons and look for alternative ways to improve governance in Karachi. It already has several developmental schemes in the works it should focus on them instead of this divisive and unnecessary move.