ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan on Monday asked Afghanistan to take steps for voluntary and dignified return of Afghan refugees to their country.

This was discussed at a meeting between President Hamid Karzai and Federal States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Minister Engr Shaukatullah who is on a three-day official visit to Afghanistan. The minister requested President Karzai to ask Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan to return to their country and play their role in the reconstruction and rebuilding of Afghanistan.  Karzai thanked the people and government of Pakistan for hosting and assisting millions of refugees for more than three decades. The two sides underlined the need for further promoting bilateral cooperation in the areas of mutual benefits, said a press release received here from Kabul.

The minister visited the sites where the returnees from Pakistan are residing. He also visited Kuchiabad Township, Kabul, met with the elders of the returnees and listened to their problems. He assured them of taking up their problems with the forum concerned.

The minister also held a meeting with Afghan Refugees and Repatriation Affairs Minister Dr Jamahir Anwari and Senior Adviser to President Hamid Karzai on International Relations Dr Yahya Marufi and discussed with them the issues regarding the voluntary return of Afghan refugees and sought their cooperation to expedite the repatriation process of the refugees.