United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres arrived in Islamabad on a four-day official visit on Sunday morning at Nur Khan Airbase to attend an international conference on Afghan refugees.
Guterres was received by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Munir Akram as well as senior officials of the Foreign Office and United Nations in Pakistan.
Pakistan, in collaboration with UNHCR, is organizing the international conference on February 17 and 18 to mark the 40-year stay of hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in the country.
During his meeting with refugee representatives, the UN secretary-general appreciated the generosity of Islamabad for providing opportunities to millions of refugees and thanked the country for hosting Afghan refugees for “such a long time”
The representatives of refugees told Gutteres that some of them were born here as they appreciated Pakistan for granting shelter those forced to flee their homes.
He said overall 2.4 million refugees are residing in Pakistan with 2.4 million registered refugees affected by the Afghan war. He thanked Pakistan’s people and the government for their hospitality. Representatives from Afghanistan, Yemen and Tajikistan were part of the delegation.
Pakistan is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world, with around 2.4 million registered and undocumented people who fled Afghanistan, some as early as the 1979 Soviet invasion.
The Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a conference on climate change in the afternoon and to address a joint press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi in the evening.
In other engagements, the UN chief will also call to President Dr. Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. He will also visit Lahore and Gurdwara Kartarpur Saheb in the Narowal district.
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