UN chief to attend Islamabad conference on Afghan refugees

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, is expected to arrive in Islamabad on Feb. 16 and attend a Pakistan-organized international conference on Afghan refugees, the Foreign Office confirmed on Monday evening.

Guterres is going to deliver a keynote address at the event titled “40 years of Afghan Refugees Presence in Pakistan: A New Partnership for Solidarity,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. The conference is held in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Feb. 17-18.

According to the statement, the UN secretary-general is also going to call on President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. He will also meet with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Pakistani parliamentarians. During the meetings, Pakistani leaders will share with Guterres their “perspective on all aspects of Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”

The Foreign Office perceives the UN secretary general’s participation in the conference as “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.”

During his four-day visit, Guterres will pay a visit to Lahore and “he will also travel to the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Saheb,” the statement read. The Kartarpur Gurdwara is one of the most important Sikh complexes in the world. In November, Pakistan opened the Kartarpur corridor, a visa-free passage connecting one of Sikhism’s holiest sites to the border with India.

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