ISLAMABAD, Oct 31 (APP): Pakistan is still the number one
country in hosting the world’s refugee population with generosity
and hospitality.
“We pay tribute to the people and government of Pakistan for
their exemplary generosity and hospitality in hosting 1.5 million
registered Afghan refugees at its soil,” Panelists at function said.
The event was organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency
(UNHCR) here.
“This defines the humanitarian landscape in the country as
Pakistan continues to host 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees
constituting the world’s largest protracted refugee population under
UNHCR’s mandate and almost 11 percent of the total global refugee
caseload”, said by the panelists of a panel discussion about “Afghan
Refugees in Pakistan: challenges, opportunities and way forward”.
The participants observed that the United Nations Refugee
Agency and the government of Pakistan’s 36 years long partnership
has been marked with several milestones of global significance, such
as facilitation of voluntary return of more than 3.9 million Afghan
refugees to their country under the largest voluntary repatriation
programme in UNHCR’s history.
The panelists included Deputy Representative UNHCR, Johann
Siffointe, Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees, Dr. Imran Zeb Khan;
renowned analyst Ayaz Wazir and Rehman Azhar.
Panelists noted that the protracted Afghan refugee situation
presents one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas in the modern
history.Panelists further agreed that despite diverse challenges, the
solid partnership between Pakistan and UNHCR and determination to
end one of the most tragic chapters of human displacement present
opportunities that should not be missed.