KARACHI, May 31: President Asif Ali Zardari said on Thursday that the government realised the enormity of the challenge posed by the 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 militants, the people will judge us by the measure of success in overcoming power shortages and the government is deeply conscious of it,” the president said. He was addressing Sindh MPAs belonging to the PPP at the Bilawal House. He also dwelt on important national issues during the three-hour interactive session.

President’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the president explained the PPP’s policy on fight against militancy, election reforms, neutral caretaker set-up, new province in South Punjab, poverty alleviation, the economic situation and the Nato summit in Chicago.Disengagement was not a democratic option, the president said with reference to his participation in the Chicago summit, adding that he informed the international community about implications of the the Salalah checkpost attack and told them that the Defence Committee had asked the Pakistani negotiators to conclude negotiations on the Nato supply route as soon as possible.

He said the policy of reconciliation within the country would continue and efforts were being made to take all political parties on board on important national issues.

The president called upon 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.

Mr Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of the PPP, said his party was aware of real issues of the people and was focusing on their early redressal.

The government, he said, had many achievements to its credit and was now in a position to confidently go to the people to seek their votes in the next general elections.

The spokesman of the president quoted Mr Zardari as saying that militants often camouflaged their real agenda behind the façade of religion or some political issues and wisdom demanded that they were not allowed to hijack genuine political issues and gain sympathies of the people.

This is partly the reason behind the decision to give the Pukhtoons their identity by renaming their province as Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah and for a new province in South Punjab, he said.

The president also ordered the 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.

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