KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the government realised the enormity of the challenge of energy shortage and was determined to overcome it in the shortest possible time.
"No matter what successes we may achieve in the political field, in empowering provinces, in constitutional reforms and fighting the militants, the people will judge us by the measure of success in overcoming the power shortages and the government was fully conscious of it", he said while addressing the Party MPAs of Sindh in Bilawal House, Karachi on Thursday and taking them into confidence on a host of national issues in an interactive session that lasted for three hours.
Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the wide ranging issues that the President touched upon included the current political situation, Party policy on various issues, fight against militancy, election reforms, a neutral caretaker set up, new province in South Punjab, poverty alleviation, the economic situation and the NATO summit in Chicago.
Disengagement is not a democratic option the President said with reference to his participation in the Chicago summit and emphasizing upon the international community that Salalah had necessitated a review while at the same time informing them that the Defence Committee had asked the Pakistani negotiators to conclude early negotiations on the NATO supply route.
He said that the policy of reconciliation within the country will continue and an effort was being made to take all political parties onboard on important issues.
The President called upon the Ministers and Party MPAs to reach out to the people and address their grievances. The ultimate court is the court of public opinion, the President said and called upon the Party legislators and workers to share with the common people their woes and problems with a view to resolving them as far practicable.
The President said that the government would achieve a sort of record by presenting its fifth budget Friday which he hoped would be pro-people focusing on giving relief to the common people.
He said that although presenting fifth budget was in itself an achievement for any democratic government, it was also an important indicator that democracy and democratic institutions were taking roots in the country and the policy of reconciliation was paying off.
The Co-Chairman PPP, President Asif Ali Zardari said that the PPP being the party of the masses was aware of the real issues of the people and was focusing on their early redressal.
The Co-Chairman said that with over four years in the Government, the PPP has many achievements to its credit and was in position to confidently revert to the people in the next general elections.
He said that despite continued propaganda from the Party's detractors and unprecedented challenges from various quarters since assuming office, the Party has successfully navigated the course. The sky was overcast, the sea was rough and pirates were sitting on the fence but the government has successfully navigated the ship to the shores, the President remarked.
The President said that restoring 1973 Constitution, the passage of 18th, 19th and 20th Amendments, addressing poverty alleviation through the Benazir Income Support Programme, NFC Award, Aghaz- e-Haqooq-e- Balochistan package, Gilgit-Balitstan reforms, FATA reforms and election related reforms were no small achievements of the Party which also had to fight the militants on the one hand and unprecedented natural disasters on the other.
He said that the people should be presented the real situation so that they are not misguided and misled by the detractors of the Party.
About the proposal to carve out a separate province in South Punjab in accordance with the aspirations of the people the President said that it was not an election stunt but based on solid political reasons.
Farhatullah Babar quoted the President as saying that militants often camouflaged their real agenda behind the facade of religion orsome political issue and that wisdom demanded that they were not allowed to hijack a genuine political issue and gain sympathies of the people.
This is partly the rationale behind the decision to give the Pukhtoons their identity by renaming their province as Pakhtoonkhwa and for a new province in South Punjab, he said.
The President also directed setting up of a four member committee of Party MPAs to prepare periodic reports on the performance of various ministries and bring it to the attention of the Party.
The President also invited the legislators present during the meeting to express their views and also share their problems. Anumber of MPAs spoke on the occasion.
The meeting also asked the Chief Minister Sindh to set up a Medical University at the site of the proposed Benazir hospital in Keamari and give land to the residents of katchi abadies.
Those who were present during the meeting included the Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khuro, Deputy Speaker Ms Shehla Raza, provincial ministers and Sindh Assembly members belonging to the PPP. (APP)