2020-02-24 › Afghan Migrants Should not be a Tool for Political Pressures
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Kabul (BNA) Addressing a conference jointly organized by the Pakistan government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees titled 40 years of Afghan Refugees Presence in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity in Islamabad, the second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh thanked the government of Pakistan and UN for holding of the conference, and supporting the Afghan refugees during the forty years.
“In the 1980’s, more than 6 million Afghans migrated to Pakistan and Iran. We are grateful to Pakistan and Iran for providing shelter to our people during those years of war and jihad and we will remain thankful forever. In those years, Pakistan was a real shelter, a shelter in its true meaning that strengthened the bonds of friendship and brotherhood between the two nations for ever after,” the second VP told the conference.
VP Danesh went on saying that there was no doubt that presence of high numbers of Afghan migrants in the neighboring countries caused problems for the hosting countries, but he said that in many aspects, the migrants have had a positive role in the economy of these countries.
“Usually, our migrants were not an economic burden for their hosts and they preserved their dignity and pride, worked and earned their bread through their own efforts and even through hard and harsh labor, and offered a big share in development of the hosting countries.”
“Since 2002, more than five million and eight hundred thousand individuals and since 2016, around three million and two hundred thousand individuals have repatriated from Pakistan and Iran; and in 2018, more than eight hundred and twenty thousand individuals repatriated to Afghanistan, while in 2019, around five hundred and thirty thousand Afghans repatriated,” the second Vice President told the conference, adding that Afghanistan has always welcomed the return of migrants and will do the same in the future.
VP Danesh went on saying that the issue of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran or anywhere else should not become a political matter and be a tool to put pressure on Afghanistan and Afghan migrants should not receive unjust pressures and sever treatment for political matters, and their human rights should not be violated.
“We believe we need to create a joint program and mechanism through collective cooperation and consultation with an oversight by the UN that can facilitate repatriation of Afghan refugees through a planned and appropriate process via bilateral awareness, preparation and cooperation. On August 2019, we in the Afghan government approved a comprehensive policy on migration that pursues four major objectives: repatriation and reintegration, supporting lawful migration, prevention of illegal migration and arrangement of the role of migration in development and economic growth.”
The Second VP also said that Afghan government was fully supporting the negotiations between the United States and Taliban, expecting that signing of the agreement paves the way for direct talks with the Afghan government.
VP Danesh asked the government of Pakistan to help in establishment of peace in the country, saying that Afghanistan cannot achieve peace without Pakistan’s participation, assistance and cooperation.
“The peace process and relevant negotiations should be Afghan-owned. The negotiating team should be led by the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and represent all the Afghan people in an inclusive and comprehensive manner,” he added.
The second VP told the conference that without stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan cannot ensure an enduring stability for itself and cannot achieve welfare for its citizens and its economic goals.
“Radicalism, terrorism and poverty are dangerous enemies of the both countries, and on the other hand, economic welfare and political stability is a common wish for our citizens. We should not miss the existing opportunities further and need to start bilateral cooperation using all our capacities; that is our intelligence and security capacities, human capital and cultural, economic and political capacities,” he said.
VP Danesh also said that Afghanistan is the shortest corridor for transiting Turkmenistan’s gas to Pakistan and India which is currently under work through the TAPI project, adding that export electricity from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Pakistan is under work through the CASA 1000 project. “For these regional cooperation we have good frameworks available such as the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan, the Istanbul Process or the Heart of Asia, Economic Cooperation Organization, and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation that fortunately both Afghanistan and Pakistan are members to all of them.”
The high-profile conference was also attended by United Nations Secretary General, UNHCR representative, acting foreign minister of Afghanistan, diplomats, representatives of international and members of foreign media.