KARACHI  - A provincial minister said Monday he wants to promote a softer image of his violence-wracked country — through his stamp collection.

Mohammad Ali Shah, the sports minister of Sindh province, has amassed more than 10,000 stamps from all over the globe and says he wants to put Pakistan on the philatelic map.

“Wherever in the world I land, I first go to the post office and buy old and new tickets and my collection is growing with every day and I hope to create a world record in stamp collection one day,” Shah, also a renowned orthopaedic surgeon, told AFP.

An exhibition of his collection, including a “Penny Black”, the first adhesive postage stamp issued by Britain in 1840, has opened in Karachi.

Asked about the value of his stamps, Shah said: “I never sell my stamps, nor will I do that, so I have not valued them. My aim is to create a world record in stamp collection to give a soft image to Pakistan.”

The 65-year-old, who began his collection as a schoolboy, lamented the decline of the stamp in the face of modern electronic communication.

“It is said that stamp collection is the king of all hobbies and the hobby of kings. Queen Elizabeth of England is known to be a big collector of stamps,” he said.

“But due to email and the decrease in sending mail by post, so the usage is also decreasing.”