UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan told the United Nations on Wednesday that it wants

millions of Afghan refugees to return to their homeland “with honour and dignity,” and sought international help for repatriating them.

“Pakistan is now witnessing the birth of the third generation of Afghan refugees,” Ambassador Masood Khan said in a speech to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, while pointing out that after more than three decades Pakistan is still caring for over three million refugees.

The committee deals with Social, Humanitarian and Cultural questions.

“We would very much want these refugees to return peacefully to Afghanistan with the support of the international community,” the Pakistani envoy said while commenting on the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Regrettably, he pointed out that although the international support to these refugees has been dwindling, Pakistan has continued to provide the necessary services.

“Our resources have been stretched by massive relief efforts following recent floods and temporary relocation of the hundreds of thousands of people because of the ongoing anti-terrorist operation - Zarb-i-Azb,” the Pakistani envoy said, as he underlined the continuing relevance and important role of UNHCR.

Pakistan, he said, needed adequate international support to close the chapter on the largest refugee caseload in one of the most protracted refugee situations in the world.

Pakistan welcomed the new Afghan government’s announcement that return of the refugees was high on its agenda.

Ambassador Masood Khan said that Pakistan was planning to send its representatives to Kabul soon to discuss modalities for repatriation and rehabilitation of refugees.

“We also call upon the UNHCR and the international community to help the people and Government of Afghanistan to take serious steps to create the pull factor and a conducive environment in their country for the return of the refugees,” he said.”