UN Secretary General urges world to support Pakistan in hosting Afghan refugees
ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged the international community to support Pakistan in the cause of hosting Afghan refugees.
Addressing joint news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad, he said Pakistan needed world support in hosting millions of Afghan refugees. The UN secretary general expressed gratitude for generosity of Pakistan by opening borders and hearts for refugees.
“It is time to give chance to peace and development in Afghanistan,” he said.
Antonio Guterres said he was encouraged by Pakistan’s commitment for peace in Afghanistan. He said once peace was restored, the world should heavily invest for development of the area, providing equal opportunities to the displaced people.
He said Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process was the only solution in Afghanistan.
Responding to a question regarding Kashmir issue, the UN Secretary General said the UN Security Council resolutions and human rights must be respected. He said every problem must be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. He also offered his good offices for resolving outstanding issues between Pakistan and India if the two sides agreed.
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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said collective efforts would have to be made for durable peace in Afghanistan. “We will have to jointly defeat the enemies of peace. We can open a new era of development in this region through joint efforts,” he said.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan and Afghanistan had dependency on each other.
To a question, the foreign minister said the most important role regarding peace in Afghanistan had to be played by Afghan people, and for the purpose, intra-Afghan dialogue was necessary.
He said refugees were natural ambassadors, who could take advantage of their linkages and could play a positive role in increasing trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
To a query, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said confidence had to be restored among displaced people for their repatriation in Afghanistan. He said if Afghan refugees were assured that they would be provided better life in their homeland, they could easily decide to go back.