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UN High Commissioner Calls for Enhanced Support and Long-Term Solutions for Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

Islamabad: During his three-day visit to Pakistan, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, emphasized the need for strengthened efforts to provide long-term solutions for Afghan refugees and support for their host communities in Pakistan. Grandi’s visit included stops in Peshawar and Haripur, where he engaged directly with Afghan refugees in both urban settings and a refugee village.

According to The UN Refugee Agency, Grandi met with key Pakistani officials including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar to discuss various issues concerning Afghan refugees. A major point of discussion was the extension of Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, which are essential for over 1.3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Grandi expressed gratitude for the suspension of the “Illegal Foreigners Repatriation Plan” and sought confirmation that it would remain on hold.

During his meetings, Grandi praised Pakistan’s long-standing tradition of hospitality towards Afghan refugees and advocated for a new approach to aid that emphasizes sustainable solutions and shared responsibility. He proposed initiating a dialogue later in the year to bring together government representatives, development actors, and the private sector to craft a comprehensive strategy benefiting both Afghans in Pakistan and their host communities.

Grandi also pledged to intensify efforts to improve conditions in Afghanistan to facilitate voluntary returns, focusing on material conditions, access to services, job opportunities, and rights protection. He noted that while working towards eventual returns, other options such as third-country resettlement and local integration in Pakistan should also be considered given the current presence of approximately 3 million Afghans in the country.