Int’l community must not forget protracted Afghan refugee situation in Pakistan: Sartaj Aziz

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 20 (APP): Pakistan on Monday called upon the international community and the United Nations to fulfill their responsibilities with regard to addressing the Afghan refugee situation.

“Pakistan believes that early repatriation of all Afghan refugees is in the interest of peace, stability and development of Afghanistan and the region”, said Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in his message on the occasion of World Refugee Day (June 20).

He said World Refugee Day is a reminder of the International Community’s collective responsibility towards the plight of refugees the world over.

The recent refugee crises, have more than ever, highlighted the importance of international solidarity and burden sharing in managing and assisting refugees, he added.

Sartaj Aziz said in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades, Pakistan has set a stellar example of solidarity and hospitality, which has few parallels in the world.

For most part, Pakistan has shouldered this responsibility without appreciable international support, he said, adding, “We have also faced immense socio-economic, environmental and security challenges associated with the long-term presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.”

For a developing country like Pakistan, this has been a tremendous strain on our limited resources, he added.

The Advisor said while addressing the current refugee crisis, the international community must not forget the protracted refugee situations such as the Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

“We hope that tangible steps will be taken to facilitate the early return of Afghan refugees to their homeland in honour and dignity,” he added.