PESHAWAR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi on Saturday said more Afghan refugees are willing to repatriate to Afghanistan.

Filippo Grandi said this during his visit to the UNHCR Voluntary Repatriation Centre in Azakhel in Nowshera district where met Afghan families. He appreciated Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees for almost four decades.

Filippo Grandi was accompanied by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and film-star Mahira Khan.

The UNHCR chief said that during his visit to Pakistan he met Prime Minister Imran Khan who assured him that the Afghan refugees would not be forced to leave Pakistan and would be facilitated during their stay. He said that 1.4 million Afghans were registered as refugees in Pakistan and for their voluntary repatriation two centres had been established in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Mr Grandi also visited the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Peshawar where he appreciated the hospital’s charitable work. He said that providing free treatment to underprivileged cancer patients was a noble act.

Meanwhile, Mahira Khan said the issue of homeless children is a critical matter. She said more than half of the refugees are children.