Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Khan Afridi has said Pakistan has provided safe shelter to millions of Afghan refugees for decades. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the first vaccination storage facility of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Peshawar, he lauded the cooperation of UNHCR and other international organizations in protecting and assisting refugees around the world.
State Minister for State and Frontier Region (SAFRON) Shehryar Afridi has urged United Nation Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to tell world that Pakistan was the best host country for refugees. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth Obbo, Minister for Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr. Hisham Inamullah Khan,n KP Minister for Finance, Taimoor Salim Jhagra, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Sultan Muhammad and others UNHCR officials were present on the occasion.
Shehryar Afridi said that millions of Afghan refugees were living in Pakistan but unfortunately the image of Pakistan is not good in world so the UNHCR should portray the role of country in help and support of refugees. He said that Pakistan always supported Afghan refugees in all cadre including health, education, business and others. He said that 1.4 million Afghan Refugees are registered while 68 percent are living out of camps in Pakistan and 60,000 visit Pakistan per month via visa. 0.84 million have Afghan Citizen Cards while 1.4 million have Prof of Registration, Afridi added. 50,000 Afghan students are getting their education here via scholarship, he went on to say. Shehryar Afridi said that Pakistan helped Afghan Refugees in exemplary manner adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured of raise the issues of refugees at all international forums.
Earlier, Mr. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations George Okoth Obbo said that he was pleased to learn that UNHCR has built vaccine storage facilities in both the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces which are hosting the largest numbers of refugees. “In the last five years, UNHCR has helped channel more than 38 million dollars to Pakistan to just to support health care” he said, adding that the international community values Pakistan’s generous support towards Afghan refugees despite facing its own economic and social challenges.
Okoth Obbo reiterated UNHCR’s commitment to help mobilize additional political, financial and technical support for sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees. He informed that UNCHR and the Governments of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan have decided to launch a Support Platform to enhance international solidarity for the Afghan refugee situation.
To be formally launched in December at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum, the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century. Mr. Okoth Obbo explained that the Solution Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR) Support Platform will seek stronger political and financial commitments to accelerate concrete results. Pakistan is one of five co-conveners of this world meeting on refugees, which presents a unique opportunity for the international community to make a tangible and long term difference in the lives of refugees and the communities that host them.