Monday, August 15, 2022

Pakistan, Afghanistan discuss ways to ensure dignified return of Afghan nationals

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday discussed the ways to ensure dignified and complete return of Afghan nationals.

The neighbouring countries held second meeting of the Refugee Working Group under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Stability (APAPPS) in this regard in Islamabad.

The Afghan delegation was headed by Deputy Minister for Afghan Ministry of Refugee Affairs Dr Alema.  Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Secretary Mohammad Aslam led the Pakistan side in the meeting. The two sides discussed matters related to Afghan refugees and other Afghan nationals illegally residing in Pakistan.

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Both sides deliberated on the ways to enhance mutual cooperation for a dignified, gradual, time bound and complete return of the Afghan nationals to their country. It was also decided to observe the agreed timelines and procedures for repatriation of various categories of these persons to Afghanistan.

During the meeting, the two sides signed a standard operating procedure (SOP) for streamlining the working of the group among the two concerned ministries on a regular basis, in future.

APAPPS Working Groups work on the principle of direct, regular contact among relevant ministries in both countries, under the umbrella of the politico-diplomatic working group co-chaired by the two ministries of foreign affairs.

Highlighting the importance of the APAPPS for furthering bilateral relations, the two sides agreed to optimally utilize the forum to deepen engagement, communication and understanding for early return and resettlement of Afghan refugees and to promote cooperation under various working groups of the framework.

Next meeting of the APAPPS Working Group on Refugees will be held in Kabul at a mutually convenient date.

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