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Rao: Readmission Agreement will help control the migrant situation

Text: Hana Imamović

SARAJEVO, November 24 (FENA) - Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Muhammad Khalid Rao, assessed that the recent visit of the then chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šefik Džaferović, to Pakistan was helpful to re-connect. He reminds that this is the first high profile visit after eight years, since Bakir Izetbegović visited Pakistan in 2012 as the chairman of the Presidency of BiH. 

"Pakistan is an important country of the region. Pakistani people respect Bosnians and keep them in high esteem. This was amply evident and witnessed by the BiH delegation members during the short visit. Šefik Džaferović was given the highest civil Award of Pakistan. Within a short span of two days, he met the Pakistani Prime Minister, President, Foreign Minister, Commerce Minister with Presidents of various Chambers of Commerce and Speaker of National Assembly. PM Imran Khan extended warm regards to the other two members of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik and Željko Komšić. He has also sent his good wishes for all the citizens of BiH. Highlight of the visit was signing of the Readmission Agreement which Bosnian Government had desired," Ambassador Rao points out in an interview with FENA.

Asked to what extent will the signed Readmission Agreement help solve migrant crisis in BiH, at least when it comes to citizens of Pakistan, Ambassador said that it is a landmark Agreement that was concluded in record time of less than two months.

"It will certainly help control the migrant situation when it comes to the Pakistani migrants. The very news of signing of Readmission Agreement is acting as a deterrent for Pakistani migrants in Bosnia and also for those planning to enter Bosnia. Pakistan will accept any Pakistani migrant that Bosnia wants to return back to Pakistan. I am very hopeful that the Agreement will certainly help in arresting the situation when it comes to migrants from Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan is also dealing with the issue of great influx of migrants and refugees. Wars and economics disparities force people to leave their countries and take refuge in other countries. The Afghan War forced millions of Afghans to leave their county in 1979. Approximately four million refugees came to Pakistan where they have lived for over 40 years.

"Some have gone back and it is estimated that around 2,5 million still live in Pakistan. Besides the Afghan refugees, around 2 million illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries also live in Pakistan. Pakistan government and the people of Pakistan accepted the Afghans with open arms and have looked after them in every possible way. Pakistan wants honourable return of these refugees back to Afghanistan, but this will not happen till peace returns and conditions in Afghanistan are conducive," explained the Ambassador.

Pakistan significantly helped BiH after the war. Asked what would he emphasize in that area, Ambassador Rao stated that Pakistan contributed 3000 strong contingents to UNPROFOR (UN Protection Force in Bosnia and Hercegovina). They were tasked to stabilize the situation, provide protection to various UN agencies and NGOs engaged in relief activities.

"Pakistani contingent did exceptionally well in protecting population, giving refuge to displaced people and providing their own rations to the needy. Doctors in the contingent provided medical relief or treatment to sick and injured. In recognition of their services, people of Tuzla erected a Monument that still stands proudly in a park in Tuzla," Rao stressed. 

During Džaferović’s visit to Pakistan, officials announced enhancement of economic cooperation. Pakistani Commerce Minister along with Presidents of important Chambers of Commerce met with Bosnian President and his delegation to review the present level of trade between our two countries, which is considered to be too low.

"It was decided that Expert Teams would meet to discuss what could be exported by each country, tariffs, custom duty’s etc. It is expected that both countries would benefit when progress is made as a result of above mentioned Expert Teams meetings," he said.

He also commented on the situation in Kashmir, which he said has become very bad.

"The situation in Kashmir has gone from bad to worse. It is an over seven decades old dispute where the world has failed miserably to grant right of self-determination promised to the Kashmiri people in several UNSC resolutions. India, the so-called largest Democracy of the world is not ready to grant Kashmiri people their democratic right to decide their fate. Last year, Indian government revoked Articles 370 and 35A of their constitution on 5 August 2019 (which granted partial autonomy) imposed curfew, shut internet/social media, confined all political leadership, illegally included the disputed territory of Kashmir into Indian Union territory, increased brutalization of youth and pumped in more security forces making IIOK (Illegally Indian Occupied Kashmir) as the highest militarised region in the world. A Genocide in in the making (Refer to the latest US based Genocide Watch report on Kashmir). The UN and the developed world have to realise that Kashmir is a Nuclear Flash Point. They have to act and act fast to save an oppressed lot through implementation of agreed UNSC resolutions," concludes the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to BiH Muhammad Khalid Rao.