UN chief to attend Afghan refugee conference

ISLAMABAD: United Nations chief Antonio Guterres arrived in Islamabad on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said, with refugee and peacekeeping issues at the centre of his four-day visit.
The secretary general will meet Pakistani leaders, participate in a conference on Afghan refugees and talk about topics including sustainable development, climate change and peacekeeping.
“Pakistan is one of the most consistent and reliable contributors to peacekeeping efforts around the world,” Guterres said on Twitter.
“I am travelling to Pakistan, where I plan to express my gratitude to the people #ServingForPeace,” he said.
Pakistan is organising an international conference with the UN refugee agency UNHCR, marking 40 years since hundreds of thousands of Afghans found refuge in the country.
The ministry said the UN chief’s participation in the conference was a “recognition of Pakistan’s exemplary compassion, generosity and resolve in hosting Afghan refugees for the past four decades and our efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.” The country has been hosting one of the world’s largest Afghan refugee communities who fled to Pakistan after their country was invaded by the Soviet Union in 1979 or during later conflicts.
Pakistan has announced the expulsion of Afghan refugees several times, but these decisions were never followed through and deadlines have been extended.