Pakistan urges world to help repatriate Afghan refugees with honour

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ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Safron Shehryar Khan Afridi has urged the world community to play its due role in honorable repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.

The Minister expressed these views while talking to a delegation of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees led by its Director, Bureau of Asia & Asia Pacific Mr Indrika Ratwatte here at the Ministry of Safron. Secretary, Safron Ministry, Mohammad Aslam, Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees Salim Khan, Mr lain Stuart Hall, Ms Kristina Zitnanova and Sharp Director and senior officials of the ministry and attached departments were present.

Shehryar Afridi said that it was an irony that Pakistan has been hosting around four million Afghan refugees for the past four long decades but the world was not ready to share its burden.

He said despite financial crunch situation, Pakistan government was making utmost effort to facilitate the Afghan refugees. He said while many western countries could not accept a single boat of migrants and elections are being fought on anti-migrant policies, Pakistan was all alone doing its part to generously host four million Afghans since 1979.

It is about time that the world should fulfill its responsibility and play its role. The world needs to recognise Pakistan’s contributions. The commitments made by world have not been fulfilled,” he said.

The minister said that Pakistan has been on the forefront to protect the world from the scourge of terrorism. He said not Pakistan defeated terrorists but also it was preventing illegal immigrants from entering into Europe.

“We are working on Refugee Policy which would soon be unveiled. We will work with all organisations to help repatriate Afghan refugees,” he said.

Mr Inrika said that Pakistan has been doing a great job in hosting Afghan refugees and world needs to recognize its contributions.

“We hope Afghan reconciliation process proceeds accordingly and we are happy on Pakistani contribution in this regard. We also hope that the world donors would practically contribute to helping the Afghan refugees,” he added.

Earlier, addressing the officials from Ministry of Safron and Afghan Commissionerate here, Shehryar Afridi said that the Safron Ministry would play a proactive role in merger of tribal areas into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and all issues would be resolved.

He said that the world needed to focus the repatriation of Afghan refugees on priority so as they could go back and play their role in restoration of peace and rebuilding process in Afghanistan.

“The way the global community is helping Syrian refugees, there is a need to focus repatriation of Afghan refugees. Pakistan has been hosting Afghan refugees for past forty years and we want the world to help their repatriation with honour as Afghanistan is ready for peace,” he added.

Afridi said that Ministry of Safron would help resolve issues faced by Afghan refugees per the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and revolutionary steps taken for their issues like permission to open bank accounts to 1.6 million Afghan refugees was an example in this regard.