Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi today received UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi at the Foreign Office. The High Commissioner was accompanied by Mr. Mark Lowcock, Under Secretary General for UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Views were exchanged on the global refugee situation with a particular focus on Afghan refugees and Pakistan’s efforts and contribution in this context.
Foreign Minister Qureshi shared Pakistan’s perspective and priorities with regard to Afghan refugees including within the overall global and regional context. While underscoring Pakistan’s commitment to a dignified and voluntary return of Afghan refugees, the Foreign Minister underlined the need for continued demonstration of international solidarity, based on the long-standing principle of shared responsibility.
High Commissioner Grandi expressed deep appreciation for Pakistan’s generosity and hospitality in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for four decades. Mr. Grandi briefed the Foreign Minister on UNHCR’s role in the follow-up of the Global Compact on Refugees especially with respect to exploring avenues for enhanced funding streams for refugee hosting countries. The High Commissioner also agreed to work with Pakistan and Afghanistan for building support and mobilizing financing for Afghan refugees and host communities.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua held detailed discussions with the two visiting dignitaries and their accompanying delegations. The Foreign Secretary described the creation of requisite pull factors in Afghanistan as essential for dignified return of refugees to their homeland. The visiting dignitaries were also briefed on Pakistan’s efforts and measures to support peace, reconciliation, stability and development in Afghanistan.
Foreign Secretary Janjua conveyed Pakistan’s appreciation for the role and support by UNOCHA during natural disasters and rehabilitation of TDPs.
Mr. Grandi and Mr. Lowcock are visiting Pakistan from 6-9 September 2018. As part of their visit, they will also hold meetings in SAFRON, visit Peshawar and Voluntary Repatriation Centre in Azakhel, Nowshera. Mr. Grandi will also deliver a public talk at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.