ASTANA, Kazakhstan (APP) - Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ms Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday called for closer cooperation among the OIC member states to tackle various challenges including terrorism and to ensure their sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity. Terrorism has emerged as the most serious scourge of our times, she stated while addressing the 38th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) held here in the capital of Kazakhstan. The Minister of State said this Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers is taking place at a time of great transformation, particularly in the Muslim world. Luckily, amid enormous challenges, we can also smell sprouts of a more hopeful future as witnessed in peaceful revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, she remarked. Ms Khar said, the turbulence we are witnessing in the world today makes the theme of this Conference Session of Peace, Cooperation and Development as the most timely and relevant. Undoubtedly, peace and development are indivisible. But peace has been eluding so many of our lands. We are suffering from foreign occupation, internal strife, foreign interference and the overwhelming scourge of terrorism, she said and added, These challenges underline the need for closer cooperation among the member states to ensure our sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity. It is also the key to welfare and prosperity of our people. Describing terrorism as the most serious scourge of our times, the Minister of State said, terrorists have no religion, no nationality, no values and they recognise no boundaries. They are criminals and enemies of humanity. They destroy schools, hospitals and kill men, women and children which is repugnant to the teachings of Islam. We must confront terrorism collectively and resolutely, she maintained. Ms Khar referred to Pakistans enormous suffering from terrorism, both in human and material terms and said, more than 35000 Pakistanis have fallen victim to this menace. It includes 5000 personnel of the security forces. Our economic losses exceed US $ 68 billion. Despite these losses, we remain determined to root out terrorism from our country and the region at large, she added. The Minister of State said it is imperative that the international community recognises the sacrifices that the people of Pakistan, the men, women, children on the streets of Pakistan, the soldiers and personnel of law-enforcement agencies make, almost on a daily basis, rather than to continue repeating the do more mantra. She said political ownership and domestic support is vital in deflating the terrorists. When the world only highlights what we have been unable to achieve and chooses to overlook our sacrifices and what we have achieved, the political space for the government to carry out operations against terrorists shrinks. Comments that cast doubts on Pakistans commitment or the sacrifices of our people are, at the very least, counter-productive. We need the understanding and support of the world but, more so, we need the support of our Muslim brothers and sisters in our ongoing struggle against terrorism, she maintained. The Minister of State referred to the Joint Statement issued by the Presidents of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan on the eve of the Global Conference against Terrorism in Tehran on June 25, and said it reflected the commitment of the three neighbours to jointly confront and eliminate this evil from our region. Ms Khar said Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoy close fraternal relations, adding, We continue to host 2.7 million Afghan brothers and sisters despite declining international assistance and our own economic difficulties. After Afghanistan, Pakistan has suffered the most from the direct and indirect consequences of ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, she said, adding, We fully support President Karzais strategy for national re-conciliation. She also mentioned the first meeting of the joint commission for Reconciliation and Peace in Afghanistan held in Islamabad during President Karzais visit to Pakistan on June 10-11 and said Pakistan stands shoulder to shoulder with our Afghan brethren in supporting the Afghan owned and Afghan led peace process in Afghanistan. We shall also continue making our contribution in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Afghanistan, she added.