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UN chief praises Pakistan’s ‘generosity’ in hosting Afghan refugees for 40 years

UN chief praises Pakistan’s ‘generosity’ in hosting Afghan refugees for 40 years

UN Secretary-General urges the world to support’s Pakistan’s cause of hosting Afghan refugees for over 40 years

“For forty years, the people of Afghanistan have faced successive crises. For forty years, the people of Pakistan have responded with solidarity. That generosity now spans across decades and generations. This is the world’s largest protracted refugee situation in recorded history.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made these remarks on Monday addressing two-day Refugee Summit Islamabad on 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Appreciating Pakistan’s initiatives to support refugees for over for decades, he said: “On every visit here, I have been struck by extraordinary resilience, exceptional generosity and overwhelming compassion. I saw solidarity not just in words – but in deeds.”

He urged the international community to step up to support Pakistan. “We must recognize that international support for Pakistan has been minimal compared to your own national efforts.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Afghanistan Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as well as other ministers and senior officials from around twenty countries were present on the occasion.

“For more than three out of every four years since 1979, either Pakistan or Iran have ranked as the top refugee-hosting country. And even though major conflicts have since erupted in other parts of the world and the refugee population has soared, Pakistan is still today the world’s second largest refugee hosting country in the world.

“On every visit here, I have been struck by their resilience, exceptional generosity and compassion. I not only saw compassion in words but in deeds.

“The generous spirit is fully inline with what I regard as the best description for refugee protection is found in Surah Al Tawbah of the Holy Quran and I quote: ‘And if anyone seeks your protection then grant him protection so therein he can hear the words of God. Then escort him where he can be secure.’

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