Pakistan thanks world community for refugee aid

June 20th, 2009 - 8:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, June 20 (IANS) Pakistan has thanked the world community for the aid it has provided for the Afghan refugees living in this country for the past three decades.
“We have accepted millions of war stricken Afghan brethren seeking refuge on our soil for three decades. Warm hospitality and generosity extended to them is known to all,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in a message on World Refugees Day.

Since 1979, Pakistan has been assisting over three million asylum seekers and displaced persons, mainly from Afghanistan, he said.

He added that currently 1.7 million registered Afghan refugees and some 1.5 million non-registered Afghans still reside in Pakistan - the largest refugee population in any country, APP news agency reported.

“We commend and appreciate the support of the international community to Pakistan in hosting what I believe, the largest refugee population since the World War II.”

It would have been impossible for Pakistan to deal with the situation without the active support of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Gilani pointed out.

“We have always been assured that the UNHCR would continue to do so till amicable solution of repatriation of the entire Afghan refugees is reached,” he said.

“My gratitude also goes for the men and women of the UN country team and others who are proactively assisting the government and people of Pakistan in dealing with an exodus of over 3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Malakand Agency and FATA due to Pakistan’s role as a frontline state in war against terror,” he added.

Gilani offered his sincere and heartfelt condolences to the UNHCR and the family of late Aleksander Vorkapic, a relief agency staffer from Belgrade, who lost his life in the Pearl Continental blast in Peshawar last week.

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