ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday to co-convene the First Global Refugee Forum.
Khan was received by Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Geneva, Ambassador Khalil Hashmi and other officials.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Switzerland are co-hosting the event.
PM Khan, along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other leaders from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Germany, were chosen. For the initiative in recognition of the exemplary roles played by them for the protection and well-being of refugees.
Addressing the forum, Khan said that millions of Muslims could flee India due Kashmir curfew and new citizenship law, creating "a refugee crisis that would dwarf other crises."
"Our country will not be able to accommodate more refugees," he added, urging the world to "step in now."
Khan further said, "We are worried there not only could be a refugee crisis, we are worried it could lead to a conflict between two nuclear-armed countries."
“The Global Refugee Forum – the first major meeting on refugees of the 21st century – will be jointly hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Government of Switzerland on 17-18 December 2019,” excerpts from the statement issued by the PM Khan’s office read.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also be speaking at the forum which is expected to galvanize political support and solidarity and broaden the base of commitments from states, international organizations, private sectors, and civil society to deal with the issue.
“The prime minister will articulate Pakistan’s perspective, experience, and contribution to the Afghan refugees. Co-convening of the GRF is recognition of Pakistan’s generosity, humanitarian leadership, and compassion of the people of Pakistan toward their Afghan brothers and sisters for the past 40 years,” the statement read.
During his stay in Geneva, PM Khan will also hold talks with his counterparts and the UN leadership, in addition to attending a luncheon hosted by the UN Secretary-General.
Around 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees reside in Pakistan.
On June 28, Pakistan decided to extend the duration of their stay until June 30, 2020.
The UN refugee agency welcomed the government’s decision, commending Pakistan for being “an exemplary host” and vowing to support the government’s policies which promote voluntary repatriation.