UN Secretary General’s Visit to Pakistan Promotes True Image of Pakistan around the Globe
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in Pakistan from February 16 to 19. He met Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, among other officials. He visited Kartarpur, the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore and NUST in Islamabad, where he spoke to students. The UN chief also addressed the Refugee Summit Islamabad, along with PM Khan. There he praised Pakistan’s acceptance of Afghan refugees and urged a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict so refugees can be voluntarily repatriated.
Guterres urged the world to take inspiration from Pakistan in terms of its handling of the refuges. The UN Chief, who was in Pakistan for a conference said that he will send a global reminder about the fate of millions of Afghans living as refugees. He said,
“For 40 years, Pakistan has sheltered Afghan refugees. I urge the world to support host countries and show similar leadership in standing with the refugees.”
The conference, which is held on February 17 and 18 marked the 40-year-long stay of millions of Afghan refugees in the country. According to reports, Pakistan has hosted the highest number of refugees. Ever since the Soviet invasion of 1979, an estimated 2.4 million Afghans took refuge in the country. Many live in camps, while others have built lives for themselves in Pakistan’s cities, paying rent and contributing to the economy. Recognizing Pakistan’s hospitality for displaced people, Guterres began his 4-day official visit by meeting refugees from Afghanistan, Yemen and Tajikistan.
In his meeting with the refugees’ representatives, the UN secretary general appreciated Islamabad’s generosity for providing opportunities to millions of refugees.
“Pakistan is full of hospitality and particularly people of Pakistan and hospitality for Afghanistan refugees,” he said 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.
The UN secretary-general hailed the efforts undertaken by Pakistani government for the sake of peace and regional security. Guterres praised Pakistan for eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country. He also appreciated the role and service of Pakistan in various UN peace missions. In one of his tweets, the UN chief said Pakistan was among the top contributors to the UN Peace Keeping missions.
“It was inspiring to meet some of the brave women and men who are serving for peace around the world. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”
He also addressed a conference on climate change where he appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to combat climate change. He said it was one of the countries that was most effected by climate change despite contributing little to it.
“Thank you to the people of Pakistan for a wonderful visit!” Guterres wrote on Twitter.