Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has called for a comprehensive strategy, including greater regional cooperation, to tackle extremism and terrorism.

In her statement at the second regional cooperation conference on Afghanistan on Saturday, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said terrorism posed a serious challenge to economic development. Pakistan was in the "vanguard" of the international campaign against terrorism.

Peace and stability in the region was the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign and security policy, she claimed. "We believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan is vital for regional security and development ... "

No less serious was the challenge of narcotics. "We have to join hands to overcome it effectively ... Pakistan is already assisting Afghanistan through capacity-building and tighter checks on the border. We shall continue extending full cooperation."

Ms. Khar said: "Pakistan is equally keen on regional energy cooperation. We are aiming at becoming an energy hub of the area. Gawadar [port in Balochistan] can become a key nodal point for storage and supply of oil. We are pursuing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline projects."