US support for Pak on Afghan refugees

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Afghan refugees are being provided with the best possible treatment during their temporary stay in Pakistan. Pakistan has serious concerns over dwindling international support and burden sharing of refugee. Pakistan has also concerns over the new global approach of combining humanitarian and development assistance for refugee population along with mainstreaming policy in education and health sectors.

In a welcoming move on the part of the United States, the US has acknowledged Pakistan’s support in hosting the Afghan refugees despite its financial constraints and limitations. In here meetings with Pakistani leadership  the visiting US Assistant Secretary for South Asia Alice Wells hasexpressed hope that the refugee reparation would be done in a peaceful and dignified manner, keeping in view the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. More positively, the US side has assured the continued contribution and support of the US government for the Afghan refugees with same spirit and commitment as well as appreciated and acknowledged Pakistan’s continued and generous support and hospitality of millions of Afghan refugees over the past forty years.

The US has also agreed to regularly meet and exchange views on the important issues which not only would be helpful for the refugees in their temporary stay and their repatriation to their home while it would also benefit the host communities. The refugee reparation would be done in a peaceful and dignified manner, keeping in view the prevailing situation in Afghanistan. Assistant Secretary Wells also discussed the prospects of issuance of visa and passports to different Afghan segments presently living in Pakistan and encouraged government of Pakistan to explore and avail the economic contribution of Afghan refugees towards Pakistani economy. The exemplary relations between the host communities and Afghan refugees could best be explained as no untoward incident has ever taken place during the past forty years of stay of refugees in Pakistan. But due to the dwindling international support for refugees, the public services in education and health sectors are under stress.

Thus, generous and predictable contribution would be required from both traditional and non-traditional donors. To meet the rising financial resources, combined and concerted effort needs to be initiated by all stakeholders through the UNHCR. Under the dwindling financial situation, Pakistan’s education, health, and economic/financial sectors would face extreme stress as catering for our own population is already a great challenge and a gigantic task and the world needs to play its role in sharing the refugee burden.

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