KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said that the PPP wants local elections to take place before the general elections.In meeting with Sindh PPP ministers at the Bilawal House here, Zardari, without specifying if he was talking about local bodies’ elections or general elections, said “this is an election year” and they would be held in a free and fair manner.He also directed the party representatives not to make any statements against coalition partners and announced that the PPP would contest the next elections alongside its allies.PPP Karachi chapter president Abdul Qadir Patel had made some remarks against coalition government partner MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) regarding the recent spate of killings in Karachi.Condemning the incidents of violence in Karachi, the president directed that criminals and all those involved in disturbing peace in the city be tackled with an iron hand regardless of political affiliations.Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah briefed the meeting on the steps being taken to maintain law and order in the port city including equipping the law enforcing agencies with modern tools to fight criminals in effective manner. The president reiterated that the restoration of stability and the protection to the lives and property of the citizens was the priority of the PPP-led government and that no comprise would be made in this regard.The CM also apprised the president about Saturday’s meeting of the core committee of PPP Sindh and MQM. Zadari reiterated that the PPP believed in the policy of reconciliation and was moving forward with this in mind.The president advised the ministers, MPs and party office bearers to reach out to the people especially in far flung areas of Sindh and enhance contacts with voters of their respective constituencies to redress their issues as part of party’s preparations for the forthcoming general elections.Others who participated in the meeting included Pir Mazharul Haq, Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Rafique Engineer, PPP Karachi President Abdul Qadir Patel and Rashid Rabbani. Zardari’s close aide Federal Law Minister Farook H Naek was also present.President Zardari chaired another meeting at Bilawal House on Sunday to review current energy situation and the progress on various measures being taken to overcome the power shortage in the country.Minister for Water and Power Ahmed Mukhtar briefed the meeting about the power situation and told about the measures that resulted in reducing the supply-demand gap. He said that power situation was steadily improving and expressed the hope that with the rising water levels in reservoirs, the situation would further improve.Wapda chairman briefed the meeting on various hydel power projects, including Allai Khwar (Battagram), Jinnah Hydropower (Mianwali), Gomal Zam Dam (South Waziristan Agency), Satpara Dam (Skardu), Duber Khwar (Kohistan), Jabban Hydropower (Malakand) and Laraib HPP, which has a total capacity of 487MW and would be inducted in the national grid by March 2013.The meeting was informed that Tarbela Dam was likely to be filled soon while Mangla Dam has been filled to a level of over 1,180 feet against the capacity level of 1,230 feet. The meeting was also briefed about the progress made so far in the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam and the efforts being made to garner finances for the project.Adviser to PM on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain briefed the meeting about the availability of gas and fuel for the power generation. The president urged the ministries of Petroleum, Finance and Water and Power to work in unison and take coordinated steps to end electricity and gas loadshedding.He said that government can no more afford persistent loashedding as it was adversely impacting the country’s economy. He directed that he should be updated regularly about the power situation. Others who were present in the meeting included Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Qaim Ali Shah and Secretary General to President M Salman Faruqui.