KARACHI: After the poor showing of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the May 11 parliamentary elections, President Asif Ali Zardari says he will not seek another term in office.

Asif Zardari was elected to the Presidency on September 6, 2008 and his five-year constitutional term expires in September 2013.

“I’ve no right, or justification, to run for the office of president this time round,” Zardari told a select group of journalists in his first panel interview after the elections. “If the party [PPP] wants me to lead, I will lead it. Otherwise, I’ll serve the party as a worker,” he said.President Zardari said that he was happy with the first-ever democratic transition of power in the country. “Not only Nawaz Sharif but also other political stalwarts, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman, played a role in making this democratic transition possible,” he said.

For the first time in the parliamentary history of Pakistan, PPP’s Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani was unanimously elected leader of the house in 2008. Zardari said that Nawaz Sharif should also be elected unopposed. He advised him to contact other parties for this purpose.

On the issue of peace talks with the Taliban, President Zardari said there was a need to differentiate between the militant and political wings of the ultraorthodox group. “If we want to hold talks with the Taliban we will have to differentiate between their political and armed wings because the latter does not believe in talks,” he added.

Referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for its policy vis-a-vis US drone strikes, the president said that those who say they would put an end to drone strikes should fulfil their promises. “What will you do after shooting down a drone? Drones are not kites that you can just shoot down,” he added.

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