Top Pakistani and Afghan officials on Friday discussed the safe and honourable repatriation of about 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s minister for the frontier regions Abdul Quadir Baloch met with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in Geneva.
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“They discussed the return of Afghan refugees, both registered and unregistered, in dignity and honour to Afghanistan,” Foreign office (FO) said in a statement.
Abdullah appreciated Pakistan’s generous hosting of Afghan refugees for the past four decades.
He added that there was a clear decision by Afghanistan, that the Afghan refugees should return to their country and all efforts were being made for their sustainable resettlement in Afghanistan.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s announcement of USD 500 million for Afghanistan at the recently concluded Brussels Conference.
Minister Abdul Quadir Baloch, while referring to the decisions taken by the last Tripartite meeting on Refugees held in Pakistan, pointed out that Pakistan was faithfully implementing these decisions.
“The Afghan refugees were our brothers and sisters and therefore we had a particular interest in their return to Afghanistan with dignity. We shall follow this principle in the return of Afghan refugees currently taking place,” he said.
Both leaders stressed the importance of close coordination between the two governments regarding the return of Afghan refugees.
There are 1.5 million registered and a same number of unregistered refugees from Afghanistan in Pakistan.
They have been living for years since fleeing the country in 1980 during Afghan war.
Pakistan in coordination with the UNHCR and Afghan government is pushing refuges to go back and has set March 31, 2017 as the deadline for their return.