Pakistan-Afghan officials discuss 'repatriation' of refugees

Next meeting will be held in Kabul at a mutually convenient date

Naveed Miraj November 08, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday held the second meeting of the Refugee Working Group to discuss matters pertaining to "repatriation of Afghan nationals and refugees illegally residing in Pakistan," said the Foreign Office.

State and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) secretary Mohammad Aslam presided over the meeting held under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS) and was attended by Afghan Deputy Minister for Refugee Affairs at the SAFRON ministry in Islamabad.

"Both sides deliberated on ways to enhance mutual cooperation for a dignified, gradual, time bound and complete return of Afghan nationals to their country," the statement said. "It was also decided to observe the agreed timelines and procedures for repatriation of various categories of these persons back to Afghanistan."

The two sides signed a standard operating procedure (SOP) for streamlining the group's work among the two relevant ministries on a regular basis in future. They also agreed to optimally utilise the forum to deepen engagement, communication and understanding for early return and resettlement of Afghan refugees apart from promoting cooperation under various Working Groups of the framework.

"APAPPS WGs work on the principle of direct, regular contact among relevant Ministries in both countries, under the umbrella of the politico-diplomatic WG co-chaired by the two ministries of Foreign Affairs," adds the statement.

It is pertinent to mention that the first meeting was held during Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua's visit to Kabul on July 22 for the inaugural session of APAPPS.

Next meeting will be held in Kabul at a mutually convenient date.

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