UNITED NATIONS - Stressing that reliance on the military means alone cannot deliver peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan has called for a comprehensive, coordinated and balanced approach to end the conflict in the strife-torn country. "In the battle for hearts and minds (of the people), persuasion must override force and coercion. An inclusive process based on dialogue and broad national reconciliation can catalyze the consolidation of gains from the international efforts in Afghanistan," Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday evening. Speaking in the debate on Afghanistan, he reaffirmed Pakistan's commitment to curb and reverse the menace of terrorism and extremism. To deal with this menace, the Pakistan ambassador said his Government was pursuing a comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy, passed through a parliamentary resolution. Structured around democracy, dialogue and development, the approach is being pursued with the support, cooperation and ownership of the populations. "Our message is unequivocal - the territory of Pakistan will not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities, while our sovereignty and territorial integrity must be fully respected," Ambassador Haroon told the 15-nation council. The Pakistan envoy said the situation in the strife-torn Afghanistan was of vital importance for peace and stability in the region and beyond. Over the last three decades, he said, Pakistan had suffered the most direct and grave fallout from the instability and conflict in Afghanistan. The refugee influx into Pakistan remained of amazing proportions, for instance. The challenges facing Afghanistan were multifaceted, closely interlinked and daunting in scope, the Pakistan ambassador said. They required a truly comprehensive, substantial and integrated response, fully owned and led by the Afghan people with sustained and long-term support from the international community. The increased violence was rooted in the complex interplay of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, warlordism, factional rivalry, illegally armed and criminal groups and the illicit drug trade, he said. Together with Afghanistan, Pakistan faced the brunt of the terrorist and extremist threat. In 2008 alone, 2,000 Pakistanis had lost their lives in terrorism-related incidents, but that had not diminished its commitment to curb and reverse the menace. The Government of Pakistan, he said, had established around 1,000 check posts and deployed more than 120,000 troops on the difficult Afghan border to control and interdict illegal movement. Pakistan was concerned about the financing and arming of militants, as well as recent incursions into its territory. An additional security risk was posed by the millions of Afghan refugees remaining in Pakistan. Afghanistan could best cope with its challenges without intervention or interference, which should not mean disengagement and abandonment, Ambassador Haroon said A comprehensive, coordinated and balanced approach was needed. For durable stability, people must assume ownership. A massive investment in reconstruction, development and social welfare was required, with the participation of all segments of Afghan society. The drug problem must be dealt with, including through the provision of alternate livelihoods, he said. An inclusive process based on dialogue and broad national reconciliation could catalyse the consolidation of gains from international efforts. Any strategy should accord priority to, and allocate resources for, the repatriation of the millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. A "pull factor" was needed to encourage voluntary return. Describing the key importance of regional cooperation for sustainable peace and development, he said Pakistan would host the third Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan in May. It would focus, among other things, on mining, health, trade, energy and infrastructure, while also addressing the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. "The new democratic government of Pakistan has made a promising beginning with Afghanistan," Ambassador Haroon said. "There have been a number of bilateral interactions at the highest levels. We are making steady progress in building a relationship of deeper trust and understanding". Bilateral cooperation had witnessed a reinvigorated Jirga process and the signing of an historic Joint Declaration on Future Directions of Bilateral Cooperation. Pakistan had pledged $320 million for reconstruction and development as it would be the primary beneficiary of peace and stability in Afghanistan.