New Delhi, Oct 18 : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said in Beijing that the key to fighting terrorism in the country is eradicating poppy growth, used in opium production.
"It is one of the major problems because it finances terrorism. People who grow poppy should be persuaded to grow something else," the China Daily quoted Zardari, as saying.
Poppy is mostly grown in areas bordering Afghanistan, reportedly strongholds of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.
Zardari said farmers in those regions should plant corn to take advantage of rising prices sparked by the burgeoning US ethanol industry, and added that planting corn could give them the same returns they get from opium.
He said his government would encourage investment in the troubled regions, and try and win more preferential treatment for their products in the US market.
"We are looking for a dialogue when the new US Administration comes into being. And we are going to work firmly for the signing of a FTA for these regions," he said.
Zardari also stressed that terrorism in his homeland was their "own problem" and not that of the US. "It is basically our own war. It has been wrongly described as America's war," he added.
Before returning to Pakistan on Friday, Zardari said more Chinese investment will be important to help his country get through its current economic hardship.
He said more Chinese investment would not only benefit Pakistan, but also "convert this financial weakness the world is facing into an opportunity for both sides."