Recent momentum of Afghan refugees’ voluntary return encouraging: SAFRON Minister

Provincial gov'ts responsible for maintaining law, order: Baloch

ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP): Minister for States and Frontier
Regions (SAFRON), Lt. General Abdul Qadir Baloch on Friday
said the recent momentum of voluntary returns to Afghanistan of Afghan refugees was encouraging.

He underscored the need for greater international
solidarity and assistance to the refugee hosting communities
in Pakistan.

While Afghan refugees have been welcomed in Pakistan,
local communities have shared education, healthcare and
livelihoods with their Afghan brothers and sisters. These
areas must be reinforced with international assistance to
provide relief to the refugee hosting communities.

The Minister was participating in the Ad hoc
Quadripartite Steering Committee Meeting on Afghan refugees in Geneva, a Foreign Office statement issued here said.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo
Grandi, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of
Afghanistan, Hossein Zolfaghari, Deputy Interior Minister of
Iran, and Hussain Alemi Balkhi, Minister for Refugees and
Repatriation of Afghanistan also participated in the meeting.

Minister SAFRON reiterated that voluntary return of
Afghan refugees would continue in dignity and with honour.

He appreciated the policies of the Afghan government to welcome the returning refugees from Pakistan.

High Commissioner Grandi thanked Pakistan and Iran for
providing protection to millions of Afghan refugees for nearly
four decades.

He added that the high-level meetings on the refugee
issue in New York in September, had paved the way for
participation of development actors in refugee situations to
relieve the burden on the hosting communities.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah
thanked Pakistan and Iran for hosting Afghan refugees. He
informed the participants that the needs of returnees were
factored into Afghanistan’s Citizens Charter.

The Afghan government remained committed to providing
land, adequate housing, social services, vocational training
and jobs to their returning nationals.

He appealed for greater assistance by the international
community to the efforts of the Afghan Government.