ISTANBUL: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi stressed the need for enhanced dialogue and cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination.
Addressing the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Budapest Process on migration issues in Istanbul, the minister underscored that to effectively address migration, law enforcement cooperation needs to be supplemented by efforts to address underlying drivers of irregular migration and opening more avenues for legal migration. He also invited attention to assess the impact of the restrictive visa regime and stringent border controls on the entire cycle of migration.
The minister also called for countering the tendencies of xenophobia, racial profiling and Islamophobia in destination and cautioned against scapegoating migrants for narrow political gains. Afridi said that Pakistan is both a country of origin as well as a destination for migrants. He added that Pakistan continued to host, on an average, more than a million irregular migrants from neighbouring countries and the region for over four decades.
He said that these migrants have enjoyed social mobility, employment opportunities and access to health and education. He said that Pakistan has effective migration policies that were implemented through robust legal and administrative frameworks.
On the sidelines of the conference, Afridi held meetings with the interior ministers of Turkey, Greece, Croatia as well as the minister for refugees of Afghanistan, and exchanged views on various aspects of migration.