President Asif Ali Zardari during meeting with PPP Sindh leadership at Bilawal House . — Photo by INP

KARACHI, Sept 2: President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also co-chairman of the PPP, advised leaders of his party on Sunday to prepare for general elections which he said would be held on time.

Presiding over a meeting of senior party leaders from Sindh and some members of the provincial cabinet at Bilawal House, he also asked the ministers, members of parliament and PPP office-bearers to reach out to people, especially in far-flung areas and set up contacts with voters.

The meeting discussed the political situation, arrangements with allies, local bodies’ election, development projects and law and order problems in the province.

The president reiterated that restoration of law and order and protection of people’s life and property were the government’s priority and said there could be no compromise in this regard. He directed the authorities concerned to deal sternly with criminals and elements involved in disturbing peace and stability, regardless of their political affiliation.

Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah briefed the meeting on steps being taken to maintain law and order in Karachi. He said law-enforcement agencies were being given advanced equipment to augment their capability to curb criminals.

He apprised the president of Saturday’s meeting of the PPP-MQM core committee on the future of local government system in the province.

Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek, Sindh Senior Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister for Archives Rafique Engineer, PPP Karachi president Abdul Qadir Patel and Rashid Hussain Rabbani also attended the meeting.

Mr Durrani told Dawn that President Zardari had directed the core committee to finalise the new local government bill as soon as possible and get it adopted by the assembly.

He briefed the president on the progress made in connection with the bill and said that the issues relating to municipal services had been settled.

He said there was an agreement on 80 per cent of the bill. The remaining 20 per cent pertained to provincial subjects which would be sorted out soon.

The minister said the PPP co-chairman had asked him to visit different districts and assess the progress of development work under the local government system and initiate action against people found negligent of their duty.

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