ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Government of Japan, in response to the SAFRON & Narcotics Control Minister Shehryar Afridi’s request for assistance to Afghan refugees, donated USD 1 million to Pakistan.
It is the first foreign donation in response to a call by SAFRON ministers to support the Afghan refugees, a press release said.
In this regard, Mr Kuninori Matsuda, Japanese ambassador to Pakistan, called on SAFRON & Narcotics Control Minister Shehryar Afridi here and provided the contribution on behalf of the Japanese government and citizens.
He said the money was paid to UNHCR, and it will be used to support the refugees from Afghanistan.
He said the Japanese government greatly appreciates Pakistan’s measures to tackle outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
He said the Japanese government wants to contribute to countering COVID-19 at Pakistani airports.
He said Pakistan has had 40 long years of generously hosting Afghan refugees. He said he had visited the Afghan Refugees Camp in Peshawar late and learned how Pakistan is kindly hosting and streamlining Afghans with Pakistani children in particular.
He also said the Japanese government has been helping the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in economic growth and would like to help the federal government too.
“We appreciate the peace process in Afghanistan and Japanese would like to become a part of development process in KP and Afghanistan,” he added.
The envoy said Japan also wanted to work with Pakistan in the sports sector.
Shehryar Afridi expressed gratitude to the Japanese government and people for supporting the Afghan refugees and said this donation would go a long way to helping lockdown-affected Afghans.
“We are grateful and expect that this contribution by Japan would send a strong message to the western countries to help the stranded Afghans,” he added.
He said Japan’s contribution to helping the suffering humanity was remarkable and Japan has always assisted people in circumstances of calamity. Japan has been leading from the front and remembering poor people. There are 2.8 million Afghan refugees in the camps and 32 per cent.
He said that Pakistan provided Afghans with equal opportunities as enjoyed by our own people, and that they were mainstreamed into our society.
“We are issuing 60,000 visas to Afghans every month without charging even a single penny beside providing scholarship to 50,000 Afghan students,” the minister added.
He said the Prime Minister had also written to UN Secretary-General on his request to provide special assistance to Afghan refugees.
“Even amid COVID-19 fight, we are helping the refugees. Why isn’t the prosperous world helping us? 85 percent of Afghans are daily wage earners for their families. We also need to provide them medical equipment for Afghans to help fight COVID-19,” he concluded.