Pakistan committed to Afghan peace for stability, refugees’ return: PM

ISLAMABAD, Feb 17 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said, with hosting of Afghan refugees for four decades, Pakistan had a sincere resolve towards sustainable peace in the conflict-hit country and also to ensure smooth repatriation of Afghans.

“People of Afghanistan deserve peace and we will continue to facilitate the negotiation process by taking it in right direction,” the prime minister said in his address at the Refugee Summit, marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

The high-profile event was attended by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, diplomats, representatives of international and members
of foreign media.

Imran Khan said conflict in Afghanistan was clearly not in the interest of Pakistan and stressed that
continuous efforts were made by Pakistan to restore peace in Afghanistan. He mentioned that Pakistan hosted the Afghan refugees since 1979 and had become the second largest refugee hosting nation with 2.7 million people.

He said despite economic challenges, Pakistan throughout provided facilities related to education,
vocational training and also social inclusion of Afghans.

The prime minister categorically dismissed the statement of Afghan Second Vice President Sarwar
Danesh, who on the occasion, accused Pakistan of ‘harbouring terrorists in refugee camps responsible
for instability in Afghanistan’.

“There are no safe havens [of terrorists] in Pakistan,” Imran Khan said, adding that such scenario
could have a possibility soon after 9/11 as militants fled Afghanistan. However, he pointed out that keeping a complete check of refugee camps with over 500,000 people, could be difficult for any government.

He said Pakistan had started border fencing to keep a vigil on the situation, stressing that “it should
be rest assured that instability in Afghanistan is not in Pakistan’s interest.”

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