ISLAMABAD – President Asif Ali Zardari has admitted that the inability to overcome the prevailing power crisis in the country was against his expectations and the problem is a huge challenge, reported the BBC.
In an informal chat with the BBC at the Presidency, Zardari said it would be his priority to monitor the affairs related to the efforts for eliminating or minimising loadshedding, so that the situation could be improved. He further claimed that 3,500MW of electricity was added to the national grid during the four and half years of PPP rule, but it could not help end the crisis.
He agreed to the opinion that the government had not been able to control price hike, but cited increased oil prices in the international market and worldwide economic recession as the factors behind the whopping inflation.
Replying to a query, the president said the PPP had always stood for electoral process and never tried to avoid it.
He rejected the impression that the PPP was trying to delay the polls, saying only those people, who did not believe in democracy, were thinking on these lines. Zardari said he was the first president in Pakistan’s history, who curtailed his own powers and strengthened the Parliament.
According to the president, even Mian Nawaz Sharif praised the initiative, saying he (Nawaz) could not believe that a president would hand over his powers.
The president recalled that he brought about extensive changes in the Constitution and devolved the powers enjoyed by the Centre to the provinces. Zardari further argued his case, saying initiatives like granting autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan proved that his performance was much better when it came to the institutional working.
He also reiterated the stance the general elections would be held on the scheduled time, as he promised to hold the process in such a transparent manner that the adversaries would not be able to raise questions.
Talking about the caretaker setup, Zardari said he had not pondered over the issue yet. But when the time came, he added, the matter would be resolved through mutual agreement without an objection from any quarter.
He said for the first time in the country’s history, a democratically elected government would pass on the powers to another in a peaceful and democratic manner. It would be a great honour and also an important step towards sustaining the democratic process in the country.
Zardari also said that the first independent and uncontroversial Election Commission and computerised voters lists would also play a great role in holding free and fairs polls.