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UNHCR Talks on Repatriation with K-P Chief

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A delegation led by Philippa Candler, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Pakistan, engaged in discussions with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan. The meeting, held at the Chief Minister’s House on Friday, centered on matters related to the repatriation of illegal immigrants residing in the province. Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry and Additional Chief Secretary Home Muhammad Abid Majeed were also present during the crucial deliberations.

Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan conveyed to the UNHCR delegation that the repatriation process of illegal immigrants was progressing seamlessly. Emphasizing the provincial government’s commitment to providing comprehensive facilities for those voluntarily returning to their homeland, he underscored the humane treatment extended to immigrants. Special funds have been allocated to ensure a smooth repatriation process, reflecting the government’s dedication to handling this complex issue with sensitivity.

Azam Khan highlighted the establishment of specific transit points equipped with necessary facilities for the temporary stay of returning immigrants. Special consideration has been given to vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, women, and children, aligning with local traditions. The chief minister assured the delegation of an effective grievance redressal mechanism, promptly addressing any complaints or concerns raised by immigrants. He issued directives to relevant departments, district administrations, and the police, emphasizing the importance of proper treatment for every returning immigrant.

Expressing a commitment to strengthening the coordination mechanism between the UNHCR and relevant provincial departments, Azam Khan underscored the provincial government’s determination to ensure the amicable completion of the repatriation process. The chief minister’s proactive approach and commitment to collaboration with international agencies signal a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges associated with the repatriation of illegal immigrants.

Philippa Candler, in response, expressed gratitude to the government of Pakistan and its people for hosting a significant number of refugees over several decades. Commending the provincial government for its efforts in making special arrangements for the repatriation of illegal immigrants, she acknowledged the necessary facilities provided to facilitate the process. Candler expressed hope that the coordination between the provincial government and UNHCR would continue, fostering an environment conducive to the successful repatriation of immigrants.

As the repatriation efforts gain momentum, the collaboration between the K-P Caretaker Chief Minister and the UNHCR serves as a testament to the commitment to resolving complex immigration challenges. The proactive measures and mutual cooperation outlined in the meeting are poised to contribute to a smoother and more humane repatriation process.

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