Pakistan president stresses early return of Afghan refugees
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The repatriation of Afghan refugees remains an integral part of its consistent efforts for lasting peace and development in the region, Pakistan has said.
At a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Islamabad late on Wednesday, President Mamnoon Hussain sought international support of to achieve the objective.
Pakistan looked forward to working with the UN agency to achieve tangible results on issue of early repatriation of Afghan refugees, the president said.
His country had been hosting millions of Afghan refugees on its soil for over three decades, Mamnoon said, adding the recent exodus to the West had led to a better understanding of the dimensions and extent of the crisis.
As a result, he added, the West should better appreciate the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in hosting the refugees -- a huge burden with associated political, socio-economic, security and environmental consequences.
Pakistan had a legitimate expectation to see the Afghans return to their homeland, he said, stressing concerted efforts to combat the menace of terrorism and usher in peace and stability in the world.
Grandi acknowledged Pakistan’s cooperation in hosting a large number of Afghan refugees for decades. He said UHCR would help create conducive conditions for the refugees’ return.
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