WASHINGTON: United Nations Secretary General António Guterres is likely to visit Pakistan later this month to attend a refugee conference, UN and diplomatic sources told Dawn on Sunday.
An official statement in Islamabad said that Pakistan would hold an international conference later this month to mark four decades of the presence of Afghan refugees in the country.
The two-day conference — “40 years of Afghan Refugees Presence in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity” — would be held in Islamabad on Feb 17-18. Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the conference, which will bring participants from 20 countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is co-hosting the conference, the secretary general and other key UN officials will also participate, sources in New York said.
Besides the UN, multilateral development banks, international refugee agencies, and major non-governmental organisations are also sending their representatives. “The conference will be held at an important juncture as efforts to consolidate peace in Afghanistan are making progress,” a Foreign Office spokesperson told reporters in Islamabad. Diplomatic observers in Washington noted that the UN secretary general would be arriving in Islamabad in the middle of a major humanitarian and security crisis over India-held Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2020