President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said he would not contest the presidential polls to be held in September, as his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) no longer has a majority in the national and provincial assemblies. The PPP was voted out in last month’s polls.

Mr. Zardari (57) was elected President in September 2008, when the PPP and its allies were in power at the centre and in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. It no longer has the numbers to ensure his re-election, being in power only in Sindh and controlling the Senate or Upper House.

Referring to his plans, he said he would take on the PPP leadership if the party wants him to play such a role.

Asked about the incoming PML-N government’s plans to hold peace talks with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Mr. Zardari called for a cautious approach, saying it would be better to engage “political forces” instead of directly talking with militants. “

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