PM Sharif urges int'l community to acknowledge burden of Afghan refugees on Pakistan

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Islamabad, Jul 9 (PTI) Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged the world community to acknowledge the burden of Afghan refugees on Pakistan as the cash-strapped country pressed forward to send back undocumented Afghans and other aliens.

He was talking to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, who has been visiting Pakistan, according to a statement by the PMO office.

"The prime minister stressed that the international community must recognize the burden being shouldered by Pakistan while hosting such a large refugee population, and demonstrate collective responsibility," the statement said.

He stressed that the international community must recognise the burden being shouldered by Pakistan while hosting such a large refugee population and demonstrate collective responsibility. He sought UNHCR's support in mobilizing adequate resources to supplement Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to address protection and safety needs of people in vulnerable situations, the Prime Minister underscored that the international community needed to be mindful of the socio-economic challenges and security threats being faced by Pakistan in this regard.

The UN High Commissioner appreciated Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for the past many decades. He assured the UNHCR would continue to work closely with Pakistan to fulfill the basic needs of the Afghan refugees.

The UNHCR arrived in Pakistan on Sunday on a three-day visit, his first visit since the caretaker government announced a repatriation plan of what it called “undocumented aliens” in November last year.

Though no official data has been shared about the number of returned aliens, it is believed that about half a million Afghans have gone back out of an estimated 1.7 million undocumented Afghans.

Apart from unregistered Afghans, there are 1.45 million registered Afghan refugees PTI SH ZH ZH

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