PM Shehbaz urges collective responsibility, int’l recognition of Pakistan’s Afghan refugee ‘burden’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged the international community to recognize the “burden of Afghan refugees” borne by Pakistan and demonstrate “collective responsibility” to address the issue, the prime minister’s office said.

His remarks came during a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filipe Grandi at the Prime Minister’s House.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a three-day visit, its first since the caretaker government announced a plan to repatriate what it called “undocumented aliens” in November last year.

Officials say about 500,000 people have crossed the border since repatriation began. According to earlier official estimates, there were around 1.7 million Afghans in Pakistan.

“The Prime Minister emphasized that the international community must recognize the burden Pakistan bears in hosting such a large number of refugees and demonstrate collective responsibility,” the statement said.