TOKYO (Agencies) - President Asif Ali Zardari called Thursday for a major aid drive like the Marshall Plan to fight poverty and militancy in his country, writing in a newspaper on the eve of a major meeting of donors. President Zardari was in Tokyo for the aid conference, hosted by the World Bank and Japan, which is expected Friday (today) to raise up to six billion dollars to help stabilise what is seen as a frontline state in the battle against extremism. Zardari stressed in a Japan Times article that his government was determined to fight militants but said it needed an aid and reconstruction programme similar to the US Marshall Plan for post-World War II Europe. We are determined to fight militancy to the end and will never permit the extremists to dictate their agenda on the people through guns and bullets, he wrote in the English-language daily. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks - which led the United States to invade Afghanistan and make Pakistan its regional strategic ally - Islamabad has spent about 35 billion dollars to fight extremists, Zardari wrote. Pakistan alone cannot bear the huge social and economic burden of this war, the president wrote. Clearly we need massive international assistance. Pakistan needs a sort of Marshall Plan to address the issues raised in the fight against militancy. This is critical because regional peace and security, and by implication international peace, depends on how well we defeat the militants. Zardari wrote that for historical reasons, particularly after the tragic events of 9/11, some areas of Pakistans tribal regions have been catapulted into the throes of militancy and terrorism. But the problem is not of Pakistan alone. It is a regional issue that needs to be addressed at the regional level. Zardari said Pakistan would present a nine-point plan to donors that covers fiscal stability, poverty alleviation, agriculture, industry and trade, training, energy, public-private partnerships, money markets and administrative reforms. Economists say up to 40 percent of Pakistans 160 million people live on one dollar a day or less. The World Bank on Monday said it expected loan and grant aid pledges of four billion to six billion dollars when 27 countries and 16 organisations attend the one-day conference and a Friends of Pakistan meeting. Japans Prime Minister Taro Aso on Thursday promised up to one billion dollars in aid to help stabilise Pakistan, after meeting President Asif Ali Zardari. Aso said at a media briefing after their talks that I told him that Japan would make a pledge of up to one billion dollars at the Tokyo aid conference on Friday that is jointly hosted by Japan and the World Bank. The Japanese premier said Pakistans stability is important for the region and for the peace and stability of the international community. President Zardari called Japan, already Pakistans biggest aid donor, an important partner in the world. Japan is showing its responsibility by being always there to support Pakistan and its fight against terrorism. Almost 30 donor countries are to meet Friday (today) to raise what the World Bank hopes will be four to six billion dollars in loans and grant aid pledges for Pakistan. Meanwhile, President Zardari sought to drum up Japanese investment for his poverty-stricken country. Zardari told Japans trade minister Toshihiro Nikai that Pakistan plans to set up a special Japanese economic zone near the southern port city of Karachi, a Japanese trade ministry official told reporters after the meeting. Pakistan has already set up a similar zone for Chinese companies in a suburb of the city of Lahore, said the official, Yoshihiro Sekine. Zardari wrote in Japan Times daily he was visiting Tokyo not only for the Pakistan aid conference Friday but also to encourage entrepreneurs from the worlds second-largest economy to invest in Pakistan. He said Japanese investment will help us in reviving the economy and fighting violent extremism and terrorism but also enable Japanese entrepreneurs to benefit from the liberal pro-investor policies adopted by our government. President also said a business mission from the South Asian country would visit Japan in late May, according to the official. Some major Japanese automakers including Suzuki Motor Corp and Toyota Motor Corp have manufacturing plants in Pakistan, and several of Japans biggest trading companies also have outlets in the country. Those companies entered Pakistan to take advantage of friendly sentiment toward Japanese among Pakistani people, the official said. But new entrants into Pakistan have been rare in recent years due to security concerns. Meanwhile, President Pakistan-Japan Parliamentarians Friendship League Mitsuo Horiuchi called on President Zardari. During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on various matters of bilateral interest as well as cooperation, with particular reference to increased interaction among the parliamentarians of Pakistan and Japan through exchange of delegations. They were unanimous in the view that the increased people-to-people contacts as well as interaction among parliamentarians will help further strengthen the relations between the two nations. Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Kamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor on Finance and Economic Affairs Shaukat Tarin and Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik were also present in the meeting. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a meeting with the high officials of member countries of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP) here on Thursday. During the meeting, they finalised the arrangements for the conference of Friends of Democratic Pakistan to be held today (Friday). President Asif Ali Zardari will preside over the meeting. Talking to this news agency, the Foreign Minister said all issues were decided with the member countries and agreement was reached on the relevant documents. Pakistani delegation will be expecting a breakthrough during the meeting. All countries have expressed complete solidarity with Pakistan, he added. To a question, Qureshi said Pakistan has realistic goals for the conference and its practicable targets will be met. Meanwhile, Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said security situation was gradually improving in Pakistan and business activity was picking up pace. He was talking to the Pakistani media after a meeting of President Zardari with the chief executives and top representatives of the leading Japanese companies and entrepreneurs at a luncheon. Rehman Malik assured the prospective investors that the special economic zones set up by the government for businessmen of foreign countries including Japan were functioning in a good condition. The Adviser said complete security will be provided to the foreign investors coming to Pakistan. The Japanese investors have shown their keen interest in making more investment in projects in Pakistan, he added. Monitoring Desk adds: President Zardari and US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke held a meeting in Tokyo on Thursday, reported a private TV channel. Both the leaders discussed issues of mutual interest.