UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Wednesday urged the international community to help the Afghanistan government take “serious steps “ towards the creation of a safe and conducive environment for Afghan refugees in their homeland, where they could return voluntarily after living years in exile.
“We would very much want these refugees to return peacefully to Afghanistan with the support of the international community,” Ambassador Masood Khan told a UN panel, while pointing out that after more than three decades Pakistan is still caring for over three million of them.
“Pakistan is now witnessing the birth of the third generation of Afghan refugees,” Masood Khan said in a speech to the General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with Social, Humanitarian and Cultural questions.
Regrettably, he pointed out that although international support to these refugees has been dwindling, Pakistan has continued to provide the necessary services.
“Our resources have been stretched by massive relief efforts following recent floods and temporary relocation of the hundreds of thousands of people because of the ongoing military operation Zarb-i-Azb,” the Pakistani envoy said, as he underlined the continuing relevance and important role of UNHCR.
Pakistan, he said, needed adequate international support to close the chapter on the largest refugee caseload in one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world.
“We also call upon the UNHCR and the international community to help the people and Government of Afghanistan to take serious steps to create the pull factor and a conducive environment in their country for the return of the refugees,” Masood Khan said. "This, according to the UNHCR, would depend on the sustainability of reintegration and salutary developments during the transition period. “