President Mamnoon Hussain has stressed that the return of Afghan refugees remains a vital and integral part of Pakistan’s efforts for durable peace and development in the region and urged the international community to work together to achieve this objective.
“Return of Afghan refugees remains a vital and integral part of Pakistan’s efforts for durable peace and development in the region,” the president said during a meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi who called on him at the Presidency. Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch was also present.
Mamnoon Hussain urged the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international community to playing their role in creating conducive conditions for the early return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.
The president said Pakistan looked forward to working with the UN refugee agency’s chief to achieve tangible results on its priority objective of early repatriation of all Afghan refugees from Pakistan.
He said the international community had a great responsibility vis-a-vis the cause of refugees, noting that Pakistan had contributed significantly towards it, having hosted millions of Afghans for over three decades.
The president said that in the aftermath of exodus of refugees to the West, there was now a better understanding and realisation about the dimensions and extent of the problem.
“The West should now better appreciate the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in hosting the Afghan refugees as this has been a huge burden shouldered by Pakistan, with associated political, socio-economic, security and environmental consequences.”
He emphasised that Pakistan had a legitimate expectation to see the Afghans returning to their homeland for peace and stability in the region.
He urged the world to make combined efforts to combat terrorism and extremism to usher in peace and stability in the whole world and end the refugee crisis in all its parts.
Pakistan receives just $5.20 per refugee per year in international aid to provide the displaced with healthcare and education — and that is only for those who are registered.
Afghan refugees living mainly in camps in the poorest rural areas of Pakistan exist in administrative uncertainty because of the short duration of residence permits issued by the Pakistani authorities, who regularly threaten to deport them.