Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari, speaking at the Economic Cooperation Organization's (ECO) summit in Baku today, voiced three "clear and present dangers" of the region.
"No other region shares as much as we do, but also no other region is under as much threat as we are," Zardari said in his speech, naming terrorism, poverty and illiteracy, fundamental peoples' rights as three major dangers that threaten the region.
Pakistan president said that regional cooperation is very important, as countries must face their challenges with courage and collective action.
Speaking of terrorism and human rights, Zardari mentioned Malaya Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl that has been shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out about suffering under the regime. The girl's life was saved by neurosurgeons in a Pakistani military hospital and she has since been in intensive care.
"This child is a symbol of all that is good in us. She represents the courage of girls and women. Her attackers did not just try to kill the daughter of Pakistan, they are trying to kill Pakistan itself," Zardari said in his speech in Baku.
The president noted that mindset that allows a human being to shoot a child, will not stop in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Attack on Malaya is attack on every child in the region, it is attack on the future of our region," Zardari said. "We must not remain idle when children are attacked, we must act urgently. We must arrest, prosecute the perpetrators of this crime, and we will. However, we must also eliminate the heroin trade as it destroys peoples lives and finances terrorism," Zardari said.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Zardari said that regional countries must put into action a vision of real cooperation between them.
"There are areas, such as energy, transport, trade, where we should work together, and we also must facilitate private sector to increase investment in the member states," Zardari noted.
Zardari noted that he was honored to be among the participants of the summit, noting the importance of the meeting and expressing his gratitude to Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and the hosting country.