President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the PPP-led coalition government could not come up to its expectation on the debilitating energy crisis.
In an informal chat with the BBC after a luncheon at the Presidency on Thursday, the president said that he would have to supervise efforts to at least bring down the frequency and duration of power outages, if not end the crisis.
During the four-and-a-half year rule of the PPP, 3,500 megawatt electricity was added to the national grid – but the power crisis could not be overcome, according to the president.
Zardari also endorsed the impression that the PPP government has failed to check rising inflation in the country. He, however, blamed it on increasing oil prices in the international market and global financial crisis.
Zardari said he was the first president in the history of Pakistan to have voluntarily relinquished his powers to strengthen parliament. “Mian Nawaz Sharif (chief of main opposition party) not only appreciated this but also said that he could not believe a president could voluntarily clip his powers,” he added.
President Zardari, who is also the co-chairman of the ruling party, said that he introduced major changes in the Constitution to devolve powers to the federating units. He added that the PPP gave autonomy to the Gilgit-Baltistan region and strengthened state institutions.
The president promised that the next parliamentary election would be held on time and the PPP would ensure maximum transparency and fairness to assuage the opposition’s concerns. He sought to dispel the impression that the PPP wanted to delay the elections.
Asked about a caretaker set-up, Zardari said the government has not started spadework for this. However, he added that an interim government would be put in place with consensus and nobody would have objection to it.
It would be the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history and this would strengthen the democratic process, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.
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