Source: United Nations 3
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday began a three-day visit to Pakistan, recognizing the country’s decades of “outstanding generosity and solidarity” as one of the world’s largest hosts of refugees, and highlighting its place in confronting climate change.
“One of the main purposes of my visit is to spotlight the real Pakistan — with all its possibility and potential,” Mr. Guterres told reporters in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
While in Pakistan, the UN chief will speak at an international conference on Monday marking 40 years of hosting Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran, one of the world’s largest and longest-standing refugee populations.
Organized by the Pakistan Government and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) the conference will also be addressed by the agency’s chief, Fillipo Grandi. The Secretary-General is also expected to meet with refugees and senior Pakistani officials.
Speaking to reporters after delivering an earlier address on climate change and sustainable development, Mr. Guterres said it was time for the world to take a step back and “look at Pakistan through a wider frame.”
Indeed, generosity and diverse culture — from the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah … to the philosophy of Allama Iqbal … to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan — and “the courageous example of Malala Yousafzai … to the giving spirit of Abdul Sattaar Edhi,’ were vital aspects of the South Asian country’s contribution to the region and the wider international community.
The ongoing role Pakistan had played for 40 years, despite Pakistan’s own challenges, in sheltering and protecting Afghan refugees with limited international support, as well as the country’s support of UN peacekeeping as one of the top troop contributing countries, and its steps to take concrete climate action with the “ten billion tree tsunami” campaign and many other initiatives.