ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday the present government inherited energy crisis from the previous regime.

“The country was facing power crisis owing to the wrong policies of the previous government,” the prime minister said while replying to questions of the people in his monthly TV programme “Prime Minister Online”.

He said an important energy conference would be held on April 9, which would be attended by representatives from all the provinces.

He cited corruption of the previous government as the reason for present energy crisis, saying: “Benazir Bhutto launched the initiative in 1994, but she came under fire. Many corruption cases were framed against her, compelling investors to flee.”

He said former president Pervez Musharraf-led government did nothing for power sector.

The Prime Minister said, "We have added 3400MW in the national system and more electricity will be added by the end of year.” He said many other projects such as Bhasha Dam, Mangla Dam raising and other hydel projects were under-construction to improve electricity and reduce loadshedding.

The prime minister said the provinces had been permitted to generate electricity thus the provinces were equally responsible for the crisis.

The PM said the government was also making efforts to get energy from Iran. He said during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 500-1000MW import from India came under discussion. He said the committee constituted by him on energy will meet daily to mull over the issue.

The gas shortage is also a problem directly affecting the shortage of electricity, he said, adding that the government is making efforts to import LNG from different countries to meet the needs.

Replying to a question about energy losses, the Prime Minister said Pepco and the Water and Power Ministry have been restructured purely on professional basis and all areas have been made independent and it will help improve the situation and reduce corruption and line losses.

The Prime Minister said he had directed that there will be no new tax in the next budget and relief will be given to the people.

He said over 100,000 jobs will be created. About change in the federal cabinet, the Prime Minister said it’s a routine matter and it should not be a concern for any one. All the members of cabinet are elected representatives and they are politicians.

He said the politicians are elected and they deserve to be included in the federal cabinet as they have the experience.

To a question for recognition of degrees of the students who got education in China, the Prime Minister said, "We have good relations with China and I am leaving for China tomorrow and giving concentration on exchange of students between the two countries and assured that the matter of degree recognition will be resolved."

He rejected allegations of corruption against his son.

About Maulana Fazlur Rehman's statement on the next general elections, he said after the 18th Constitutional Amendment is now his prerogative to dissolve the National Assembly and announce new elections.

The Prime Minister said he would visit Karachi to review law and order.

To another question about the role of PML-N as an opposition party, the Prime Minister said the PML-N cannot be termed as a "friendly opposition" but a "responsible opposition", as whenever there was any issue of national interest, they cooperated with the government.

About Pak-India trade, he said the federal cabinet had decided to improve balance of trade with India and assigned the Ministry of Commerce to hold talks with the Indian side, while keeping in view our national interest.

"Currently, these talks are in progress, which is a positive sign," he added. About the situation in Balochistan, the Prime Minister said, the people of Balochistan like people belonging to other provinces are equally sincere and patriotic Prime Minister Gilani,  and are not separatists.