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Return of Afghan refugees vital for durable peace in region: President

President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said return of Afghan refugees remained a vital and integral part of Pakistan’s efforts for durable peace and development in the region and sought support of  International community to achieve this objective.

The President was talking to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Minister for SAFRON Lt. Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch was also present.

President Mamnoon said Pakistan looked forward to working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and to help him achieve tangible results on its objective of early repatriation of Afghan refugees from Pakistan.

He said the international community had a great responsibility vis-…-vis the cause of refugees and pointed out that Pakistan had contributed significantly towards it, by hosting millions of Afghan refugees on its soil for over three decades.

President Mamnoon said in the aftermath of exodus of refugees to the West, there was now a better understanding and realisation about the dimensions and extent of the refugees problem.

He said the West should now better appreciate the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in hosting the Afghan refugees and this had been a huge burden shouldered by Pakistan, with associated political, socio-economic, security and environmental consequences.

The President said Pakistan had a legitimate expectation to see the Afghans return to their homeland for peace and stability in the region.

He stressed that the world needed 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 his organization would strive to resolve the longstanding problem of refugees by creating conducive conditions for their return to Afghanistan.

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

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