Islamabad: Mr. Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Afghan Refugees called on Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here Thursday and appreciated the people of Pakistan and the government for extending hospitality to more than three million Afghan Refugees who had to leave their homes due to the military occupation of their country in 1979.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan wanted their return to their homeland with honour and dignity and the international community should help in this regard. “It seems that the international community has forgotten the Afghan refugees”, the Prime Minister observed.
While talking about the Afghan issue, the Prime Minister said, Pakistan would support any reconciliation process which was Afghan led and Afghan owned and its culmination would not destabilize Pakistan.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the return of the Afghan refugees was important because the crossing of boarders by 30,000 to 40,000 Afghan on daily basis made it impossible to ascertain as “who is tourist and who is terrorist”.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the people of Pakistan and the democratic government had the resolve, ability and capacity to defeat the forces of terrorism and extremism and the safe return of Afghan refugees to their homeland would help in this pursuit.
The UN High Commissioner said that they were reaching out to the international community to undertake heavy investment in 48 identified areas within Afghanistan which would encourage the Afghan refugees to return to their native country on permanent basis because it would provide them attractive job opportunities.
Their upto now practice of going back and coming again to Pakistan would be stopped, the High Commissioner maintained.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also called upon the implementation of restricted movement at the boarders at the acceptable level.
He also emphasized on the need of registering the refugees, adding that non-registered refugees should not be treated as refugees as defined by the UN.