Pakistan remains committed to voluntary return of Afghans refugees: Baloch

ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (APP): Federal Minister for SAFRON, Lt Gen ® Abdul Quadir Baloch on Monday said that Government of Pakistan remained committed to voluntary return of Afghan refugees and their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan.

Addressing the sixty seventh meeting of the Executive
Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme, he called for increased international solidarity to alleviate the miseries and suffering of millions displaced across the world, including Afghan refugees, said a news release received here from Geneva.

He thanked United Nations High Commissioner Filippo Grandi for his visit to Pakistan in June this year and increasing return grant to 400 dollars for early repatriation.

The Minister provided the UNHCR Executive Committee, a group of 98 countries which provides guidance on refugee matters, an overview on the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, including extension of their stay in Pakistan till the end of March next year.

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He reiterated that the voluntary return and reintegration of
Afghan refugees will continue within the framework of the solutions strategy for Afghan refugees in coming months.

In the interim, the Government of Pakistan, in keeping with
its tradition of hospitality, will continue providing protection and assistance to the refugees, including through provision of education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities.

He called on the international community to invest in peace,
security and development in Afghanistan in order to close the most protracted refugee chapter of present times. The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan was an important platform to achieve these objectives, he added.

On the global situation of refugees, the minister emphasized
on the urgent action to counter xenophobia, working towards achieving durable solutions for refugees, especially those in protracted situations, addressing the root causes of displacement, and equitably sharing the burden of refugee hosting countries.

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Earlier, in his statement, High Commissioner Filippo Grandi
thanked Pakistan for generously hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades, and continuing to extend them protection and assistance.

He also appealed to the international community to share the burden of hosting refugees borne by the government and people of Pakistan.