ISLAMABAD  -    State Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Shehryar Afridi has said that it is the government’s responsibility to respect every Pakistani whereas they offer the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) to resolve issues through dialogue.

Afridi said the federal government had released an unprecedented Rs102 billion for the development of tribal regions of erstwhile FATA and massive development process was going to take place in tribal regions.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday flanked by Federal Secretary, Chief Commissioner Afghan Commissionerate and other officials, the minister said that Pakistan would commemorate year 2019 as 40 years of hospitality for Afghan refugees. He said in this regard, a refugee convention would be held in June to tell the world the success story of generosity and sacrifices made by Pakistani people for refugees.

The minister said that Pakistan had been a host to millions of Afghan refugees for the last four decade and this has been an unprecedented example of generosity and brotherhood that has been shown by Pakistan despite its financial restraints and meager resources.

During the 40 years of hospitality and sacrifices for refugees, there was not a single incident of conflict between refugees and Pakistani hosts despite differences in culture and life style of people of two countries, he added.

He said there are approximately three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan including more than 1.4 million registered population (POR card holder), 0.85 million approximately newly documented Afghan citizen card holders and 0.5 million are undocumented refugees.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan announced and thereafter allowed opening of bank accounts at Afghan refugees in Pakistani banks as a good will gesture.The minister said that maximum members of current Afghan cabinet have lived and studied in Pakistan.

Shehryar Afridi said that efforts were afoot to empower the tribal people. He said that ninety-five billion rupees have been released for the development of tribal districts. He said more funds will be released for the prosperity of tribal people.

Sate Minister said it is the government’s responsibility to respect every Pakistani whereas they offer the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) to resolve issues through dialogue.

He asserted that it is the time for Pakistan to illuminate after darkness. “Whoever will try to take the law in his own hands, will be dealt strictly”, he added.

Shehryar Afridi said that slogans were never chanted against Pakistan in the history of Pashtoons. He further said that if there is any sort of issue with them then it can be peacefully resolved through dialogue. “Pakistan is in safe hands now and it has a very bright future”, he added.

Minister expressed that government would not have allowed Mohsin Dawar to submit his resolution about FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province if it had any ill intent against the PTM. Asked if the government would be ready to hold talks to Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), the minister stated that it is the responsibility of government to respect every Pakistani.

“When I was the Interior Minister, I made Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir sit together for talks,” he asserted.