PR No. 155 Islamabad: June 22, 2016

President Mamnoon Hussain has stressed that the return of Afghan refugees remains a vital and integral part of Pakistan’s efforts for durable peace and development in the region and urged the international community to work together to achieve this objective.

The President said this while in a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Filippo Grandi who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Wednesday. Minister for SAFRON Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Quadir Baloch was also present on the occasion.

Welcoming United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Pakistan, President Mamnoon said that Pakistan looks forward to working with him to achieve tangible results on its priority objective of early repatriation of all Afghan refugees from Pakistan. The President stated that the international community has a great responsibility vis-à-vis the cause of refugees noting that Pakistan has contributed significantly towards it, having hosted millions of Afghan refugees on our soil for over three decades.

President Mamnoon said that in the aftermath of exodus of refugees to the west, there is now a better understanding and realisation about the dimensions and extent of the refugees problem. The President underscored that the West should now better appreciate the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in hosting the Afghan refugees and stressed that this has been a huge burden shouldered by Pakistan, with associated political, socio-economic, security and environmental consequences. The President emphasized that Pakistan has a legitimate expectation to see the Afghans return to their homeland for peace and stability in the region.

President Mamnoon urged that the world needs to make combined efforts to combat the menace of terrorism and extremism to usher in peace and stability in the whole world and end the refugee crises in all parts of the world.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi thanked Pakistan for cooperation in hosting very large number of Afghan refugees and said that his organization will strive to resolve the longstanding refugees problem by creating conducive conditions for their return to Afghanistan.

The President felicitated Filippo Grandi on his appointment as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.