QUETTA, PAKISTAN: In the second roundtable discussion on “Afghanistan and its Challenges for Peace and Development”, organized by National Dialogue Forum (NDF) and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), speakers from Pakistan and Afghanistan discussed the state of Afghan migrants in Pakistan after August 2021 and the way forward. As part of the discussion, a special focus was given to the Afghan refugee communities in Quetta and Balochistan.
The multi-stakeholders event was attended by a wide range of speakers including Provincial Minister Ms. Bushra Rind, the Head of the UNHCR Sub-Office Quetta Mr. Erwin Policar, the designated German Honorary Consul in Quetta Mr. Mir Murad Baluch, the former Speaker of the Balochistan Assembly Ms. Rahila Durrani, the Secretary of Planning and Development of the Government of Balochistan Mr. Abdullah Khan, politicians, senior university professors, experts from think tanks, and Afghan refugee activists.
The Minister for Services and General Administration of the Government of Balochistan, Ms. Bushra Rind, was the chief guest of the event. She stressed:
We can change friends but not neighbors and the situation in our neighboring country Afghanistan has changed now. There must be an all-parties conference on the issues of Afghan refugees and the Government should review its policy and must engage everyone
including the tribal heads to give space to refugees and listen to their concerns.
Mr. Sheharyar Khan, Executive Director of NDF, stated: Pakistan’s efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan are in the greater regional interest. Political and economic stability with peace in Kabul is in the greater interest of the region and will
pave the way for economic growth, economic engagement, and interaction for both countries.
HSF Pakistan Resident Representative, Dr. Steffen Kudella, explained HSF’s motivation: For decades, the Pakistan-Afghanistan region has been challenged by instability and fragility. These challenges are not isolated events but are connected with each other and also with other events worldwide. We can only solve them together and in a holistic way. For this
cooperation, better mutual understanding is needed.
The 22 participants discussed multiple topics related to Afghan refugees in Pakistan and presented their way forward for a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. The roundtable series will be continued by a respective Pakistan-Afghan dialogue conference in Islamabad soon.