PESHAWAR - Upholding the old Pakhtun tradition of hospitality, the Shabqadar Union of Shopkeepers served a lunch in honour of repatriating Afghan refugees’ families and urged upon all people across the country to give full respect to their brothers who are living the country after long period of 37 years.

President of Shabqadar Bazar district Charsadda Shahjihan Khan said that they are Muslims and one nation and it is obligatory upon them to maintain the culture of hospitality and brotherhood.

He said that Pakistan government had given shelter to Afghan brothers as per international laws and gave them full respect and access to every part of the country.

Besides government level support, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also gave full support and respect to Afghan families as per the teaching of Islam and Pakhtun tradition.

Now the government has decided to repatriate the Afghan families to their native country and in this scenario it was prime responsibility of all Pakhtuns to say farewell to the Afghan refugees in a respectful manner.

Talking to journalists the elders of the repatriating Afghan families thanked the local people for giving them full respect and honour in time of trouble.

They said that they will not forget this hospitality of Pakhtuns brothers.

They maintained that they will not break this bond of relationship whether they are in Afghanistan or Pakistan and will give them further strength.  They added that they will share each moment of joy and sorrow.

Other members of Shopkeeper Union comprising Mohmand Khan, Jehanzib Khan,Zakirullah Master, Iltaf Khan and other said farewell to the Afghan refugees from Shabqadar Bazar and expressed their good wishes for peace in Afghanistan.

People from all walks of life termed it a good omen for the respectful repatriation of Afghan families to their country and asked all countrymen to maintain this culture of hospitality.

Wajidullah Khan, resident of Peshawar told The Nation Afghan refugees came here due to war compulsion and now after restoration of peace in their areas, they are returning to their hometowns after 37-year long period.

In this situation it is duty of all countrymen to say good-by to their migrant Afghan brothers with due respect. He added that though repatriation of Afghans was the state policy and there is no such role of the people in their repatriation.

“We have double bonds of brotherhoods which culture and Islam”, he remarked.

Large number of Afghan families left the country since the government’s announcement and dead line of December 2016.

Around 8600 families left the country only in six months of 2016 while large numbers have packed their luggage to leave the country soon or later.