ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Tuesday said peace zones should be established in Afghanistan near Pakistan-Afghan border so that the Afghan people are not forced to migrate to Pakistan.
“The world community including regional states and especially international organisations should help Afghanistan to build economic opportunities and skills,” Rashid said, while addressing the concluding ceremony of a two-day conference.
He said Pakistan’s fundamental priority is the early return of Afghan refugees and their reintegration in Afghan society. “For this purpose we need to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan, UNHCR and other relevant players,” he added.
Rashid said Pakistan maintained a policy of temporary protection with voluntary return as the preferred option; however the goal of comprehensive repatriation remained elusive.
“Pakistan has fulfilled its international responsibilities in good faith by allowing Afghan refugees to live in serenity on its territory for more than three decades,” he said, adding: “Pakistan, a developing country with a population of 182.1 million, now anticipates the return of all the Afghan refugees.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2016.