SAFRON minister lauds UNHCR role


United Nations High Commissioner for Afghan Refugees (UNHCAR) Antonio Guterres called on Federal Minister for SAFRON Engineer Shaukatullah Khan Wednesday and discussed with him all the issues regarding repatriation of the Afghan refugees. The federal minister said repatriation of the Afghan refugees was the most important issue in Pakistan and they knew that all Afghans could not return to their homeland due to the non-conducive environment in Afghanistan. The government of Pakistan has approved a repatriation strategy that envisages temporary management of the Afghans in Pakistan through a flexible visa regime, work permits, student visas and such other arrangements, he maintained. The minister added that rehabilitation and reintegration efforts inside Afghanistan required immediate attention, adding the RAHA initiative for the Afghans in Pakistan for skill development, education and health facilities was a momentous and crucial aspect in this regard. The federal minister expressed appreciation and gratitude on the behalf of government of Pakistan for the UNHCR’s role and its services for the Afghan refugees, flood affectees and internally displaced persons in Pakistan. He assured that Pakistan would continue to adhere to the principles of voluntary and gradual repatriation of the Afghans to their homeland. Antonio Guterres thanked the federal ministry and the government of Pakistan for their cooperation with the UNHCR in implementing the strategy, mechanism and procedure for the Afghans’ repatriation. Representative of UNHRS in Pakistan, Federal SAFRON Secretary Habibullah Khan Khattak, Chief Commissioner for the Afghan Refugees, Fida Muhammad Wazir and high officials of the ministry of SAFRON were also present during the meeting.