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Pakistan has been a host to one of the largest refugee’s populations for more than three decades

Islamabad: This was said by the Federal Minister for SAFRON Engr. Shukatullah while chairing the International conference here in Islamabad. This conference is in the continuation of the 3rd conference, which is a preparatory meeting for the “International Stakeholders Conference on Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees, to support voluntary repatriation, sustainable reintegration and assistance to the host countries.”

The Federal Minister said, “I want to assure this august gathering of Pakistan’s continued readiness to help Afghan refugees till their safe, voluntary and dignified return to their homes despite our social and economic difficulties.”

“Let me say for the record that we believe in refugees’ rights and privileges on the basis of non discrimination. In our country, refugees are allowed to more freely, have access to all civic amenities, opportunities like any ordinary Pakistani citizen.

The Minister also said that Pakistan has been stricken to the implementation of the Afghan management and repatriation strategy 2012 (AMRS) which clearly emphasis the need for international community’s support for the management and the repatriation of Afghan refugees to their homeland.

“We share a common vision with UNHCR that by the end of the year 2012. major bulk of the Afghan refugees would have return and settled in their homeland.” The Minister explained.

The Minister hoped that the discussion in this 3rd preparatory meeting for stake holder’s conference would also helped them to share useful information on land, shelter, livelihood schemes, border controls, and third country settlements.

The Minister also deplored that Pakistan is dealing with security challenges in some of the bordering districts including Dir and chitral. In Bajour and Mohmand Agencies, incidents relating to kidnapping of children have added to the negative perceptions of the issue.

“These issues, combined with the declining pace of repatriation of Afghan refugees are serious challenges which require immediate remedial measures.

The delegations who participated in this international conference for the repatriation of Afghan refugees were included, The Director, regional Bureau for Asia and Pacific of UNHCR, Mr. Kasidis Rochanakon, the country representatives of UNHCR Mr. Neil Wright. The Ministers of Afghanistan and Islamic Republic of Iran who deals with the refugees management ministries of their countries.

The delegation provided updates on the efforts and initiatives undertaken for the return of the Afghan refugees to their homeland. The delegations emphasised the need for engagement and support of the international to resolve the issue of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran.

The government of Afghanistan is committed to renew efforts for the rehabilitation process of Afghan Refugees in Afghanistan with particular focus on 19 provinces with maximum potential for return of refugees.

The Federal Minister for SAFRON has appreciated the support extended by UNHCR and donor for their effort of the repatriation of Afghan refugees, he also mentioned the Refugees Affected and Hosting Area (RAHA) project for the uplifting and development of those areas in KPK. FATA and Balochistan which host or have been affected by the presence of large number of Afghan refugees in the past.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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