ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Pakistan is still the number one country in hosting the world’s refugee population with generosity and hospitality.

“We pay tribute to the people and government of Pakistan for their exemplary generosity and hospitality in hosting 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees at its soil,” Panelists at function said.

The event was organized by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) here.

“This defines the humanitarian landscape in the country as Pakistan continues to host 1.5 million registered Afghan refugees constituting the world’s largest protracted refugee population under
UNHCR’s mandate and almost 11 percent of the total global refugee caseload”, said by the panelists of a panel discussion about “Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: challenges, opportunities and way forward”.

The participants observed that the United Nations Refugee Agency and the government of Pakistan’s 36 years long partnership has been marked with several milestones of global significance, such as facilitation of voluntary return of more than 3.9 million Afghan refugees to their country under the largest voluntary repatriation programme in UNHCR’s history.

The panelists included Deputy Representative UNHCR, Johann Siffointe, Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees, Dr. Imran Zeb Khan; renowned analyst Ayaz Wazir and Rehman Azhar.

Panelists noted that the protracted Afghan refugee situation presents one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas in the modern history.

Panelists further agreed that despite diverse challenges, the solid partnership between Pakistan and UNHCR and determination to end one of the most tragic chapters of human displacement present opportunities that should not be missed.