03-02-2012  14:28:01

PM seeks int’l community assistance on Afghan refugees repatriation

ISLAMABAD, Feb 2 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said Pakistan wanted the return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with honour and called upon the international community for assistance in this regard.Talking to Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Afghan Refugees at the PM House, the Prime Minister said it seemed that the international community had forgotten the Afghan refugees.The Prime Minister said Pakistan would support any reconciliation process which was Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and added that 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 distinguish between a “tourist and a terrorist”.
 He reiterated that the people of Pakistan and the democratic government had the resolve and capacity to defeat the forces of terrorism and added that the safe return of Afghan refugees to their homeland would help in this pursuit.
 He 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 UN High Commissioner said 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.
He also called upon the implementation of restricted movement at the boarders at an acceptable level.
 He also emphasized on the need for registering the refugees, adding that non-registered refugees should not be treated as refugees as defined by the UN.