ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: The Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan and the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) launched the mini-docuseries titled “The Refugee Stories: Lives of the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan” at Serena Hotel Islamabad on December 8, 2022. The documentary series highlighted the struggles and achievements of Afghan refugee role models and community leaders who have excelled in adversity.
The purpose of the documentary series is to bridge the gap between the refugee and host communities and portray how Afghan refugees excel due to their hard work and perseverance and contribute positively to Pakistani society as well as the Afghan diaspora.
Mr. Sheharyar Khan, Executive Director, NDF, welcomed all participants on behalf of the NDF and said: We want to give them a voice and highlight their contributions to society. With this project, we want to remove the taboo and stigma around the word “refugee” and promote social cohesion between the Afghan refugee community and Pakistani society. This documentary series is our small contribution to removing the misconceptions surrounding Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
Dr. Steffen Kudella, the Resident Representative of HSF Pakistan, remarked: We want to strengthen the regional stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan through mutual understanding and cooperation. We believe that Afghans in Pakistan are agents of positive change in Pakistan and Afghanistan: they can contribute substantially to democracy, peace, and development.
The documentary screening was followed by a panel discussion with prominent experts: Mr. Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, Ms. Tammi Sharpe, Deputy Head of UNHCR Pakistan, and Ms. Nasria Pashtun, a Civil Society Activist and an Afghan Refugee, and moderated by Dr. Simbal Khan. The panelists discussed the current situation of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan. The panelists remarked that Afghanistan is facing multiple challenges at the moment and the international community come forward and helped millions of Afghans in this difficult time.
The launching ceremony was attended by a diverse audience including diplomats, members of academia, civil society activists, journalists, Afghan refugees, and representatives of different national and international organizations. Three of the five subjects of the documentaries were also present to interact and engage with the audience.