ISLAMABAD: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the international community to support Pakistan in the cause of hosting Afghan refugees.
Addressing a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the UN chief said Pakistan needs world support in hosting millions of Afghan refugees. He expressed gratitude for the generosity of Pakistan by opening borders and hearts for refugees and said it is time to give chance to peace and development in Afghanistan.
Guterres said he is encouraged by Pakistan’s commitment to peace in Afghanistan. He said once peace is restored, the world should heavily invest for the development of this area and providing equal opportunities to the displaced people. He said Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is the only solution in Afghanistan.
Responding to a question regarding the 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 agree.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said collective efforts will have to be made for durable peace in Afghanistan. He said they will have to jointly defeat the enemies of peace and usher a new era of development in this region through joint efforts.
Qureshi said Pakistan and Afghanistan have a dependency on each other. Answering a question, the Foreign Minister said the most important role regarding peace in Afghanistan has to be played by Afghan people, and for the purpose an intra-Afghan dialogue is necessary. He said refugees are natural ambassadors, who can take advantage of their linkages and can play a positive role in increasing trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Answering a question, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said confidence has to be restored among displaced people for their repatriation in Afghanistan. He said if Afghan refugees are assured that they will be provided better life in their homeland, they can easily decide to go back.