ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Afghanistan yesterday discussed the safe return of refugees, the Foreign Ministry said.

SAFRON minister Abdul Qadir Baloch had a meeting with Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, who arrived in Geneva to participate in the quadripartite meeting on Afghan refugees , the Foreign Ministry statement said.

“They discussed the return of Afghan refugees , both registered and unregistered, in dignity and honour to Afghanistan,” it said.

The Quadripartite Steering Committee on Afghan Refugees includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the UNHCR.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah appreciated Pakistan's generous hosting of Afghan refugees for the past four decades.

He added that there was a clear decision by the Government of Afghanistan that the Afghan refugees should return to their country and all efforts were being made for their sustainable resettlement in Afghanistan.

He also appreciated Pakistan's announcement of $500 million for Afghanistan at the recently concluded Brussels Conference.

Abdul Qadir Baloch, while referring to the decisions taken by the last tripartite meeting on refugees held in Pakistan, pointed out that Pakistan was faithfully implementing these decisions.

The Afghan refugees are our brothers and sisters and therefore we have a special interest in their return to Afghanistan with dignity. We shall follow this principle in the return of Afghan refugees currently taking place, he added.

Both Abdullah and Baloch stressed the importance of close coordination between the two governments regarding the return of Afghan refugees , said the statement.

Separately yesterday, Okello Henry Oryem, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda called on the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs.

The two ministers discussed bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest. The SAPM briefed his counterpart on the situation in Indian held Kashmir.

While expressing satisfaction on the ongoing cooperation in the field of agriculture and education, they however, stressed the need to enhance trade and economic relations, so as to realise their true potential. The SAPM also hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda is in Pakistan to participate in celebration of 54th Independence Day of Republic of Uganda in Lahore falling on October 9.

There are 1.5 million registered and a same number of unregistered refugees from Afghanistan in Pakistan. They have been living for years since fleeing the country in 1980 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Pakistan in coordination with the UNHCR and Afghan government is pushing refugees to go back and has set March 31, 2017 as the deadline for their return.

On Wednesday last, world powers raised $15 billion for Afghanistan to fund the country over the next four years, while the European Union said it won support to revive a stalled peace process after almost 40 years of conflict.

With the government in Kabul facing a resurgent Taliban 15 years after US forces helped oust the militants, more than 70 governments in Brussels led by the United States and the European Union promised more financial support for a country that governments see as strategic to global security.