SAINT PETERSBURG (NNI) - Terming greater cooperation among regional countries crucial for their development and prosperity, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has stressed the need for enhancing trade, energy and road links. Addressing the 10th meeting of Heads of Government Council of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held in Russias historical city, the prime minister proposed a five-point development plan based on the SCO-sponsored intra-regional and inter-regional cooperation in trade, building infrastructure and power links. The development plan included arranging finance and initiation of work on electricity transmission lines; taking concrete measures to start Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India gasline projects; setting up a preferential and if possible a free-trade zone in the SCO region; cooperation in the financial and banking sectors; and relaxation of visa regimes for diplomats, officials and businessmen. Gilani represented Pakistan as an observer state at the SCO forum, and was joined by the leadership of SCO member states, including Russia, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, at the Constantine Palace here. The prime minister said Pakistan attached importance to the SCO and believed that this organisation had the capacity and resolve to overcome the most pressing challenges. He added that the SCO had the enormous potential to promote regional economic cooperation in a holistic manner. He maintained that terrorism, extremism, drugs and syndicate crime were confronting the societies, states and the region. He said pervasive global economic and financial crisis, unemployment and socio-economic stress were making the picture bleak. He said though daunting but these challenges could be surmounted by developing a cohesive response based on clarity and firm conviction for working together. He reiterated Pakistans desire for a full membership of the SCO and expressed gratitude to all members for their support to this request. Gilani termed security and development as important regional issues. He said the challenges of reconciliation, reconstruction and revival of Afghan polity needed to be addressed objectively. He welcomed the SCOs role and efforts in this regard. He said Pakistan was optimistic that the problems in Afghanistan could be solved with the support of international community and by taking all Afghans onboard, regardless of ideological, ethnic or political preferences. He said political realism and clarity demanded that Afghanistans sovereignty and territorial integrity was respected by all, and added that Pakistan would continue to contribute to the stability of Afghanistan and support its government and people in their endeavours for reconciliation and reconstruction. Gilani stressed greater political will and concrete steps to fully realise the vision of SCO. Russian Premier Vladimir Putin announced financing of $0.5 billion for the CASA-1000 that would ensure power transmission from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He called for investment flows to develop national economies. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao highlighted the SCOs role in eliminating terrorism, extremism and separatism and said the organisation needed to withstand the changes in international scenario. He supported Pakistans proposal of building cross-border road links. He suggested policy support for free flow of goods, establishment of a seed bank for cooperation on agriculture and expansion in currency swap. Kyrgyz Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov suggested setting up SCO Development Bank and Business Council of SCO to address challenges of global economy.