Pakistan banning NGOs due to alleged involvement in anti-state activities

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Pakistan banning NGOs due to alleged involvement in anti-state activities

By Agha Iqrar Haroon

Islamabad, Pakistan: Pakistan has decided to take stiff measures against domestic or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are allegedly involved to work against the sovereignty of Pakistan. Measures including banning NGOs if found involved in political, sectarian or anti-state activities.

According to Dispatch News Desk news agency, over 380 NGOs are on the Orange List of scrutiny committee including 7 International NGOs

After closing down offices of international NGO Save the Children this week, the Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Friday that any domestic or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) pursuing the foreign agenda against the national interests will not be allowed to operate in Pakistan. It may be mentioned that Save the Children was allegedly behind to track down top world terrorist Osama Bin Laden in summer resort of Abbotabad Pakistan. Though Save the children always denies its involvement to work as spy agency of United States in Pakistan, Pakistan government and intelligence networks are firm that this organization has been working as front office organization of US intelligence agencies.

NGO sector is facing tough time in the region as Indian government in March banned 30 NGOs engaged in welfare of minorities, from receiving foreign funds after adverse reports about their activities from intelligence agencies while total of 69 NGOs were prohibited by the government from receiving foreign funds under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). US based Ford Foundation also came under fire in India and India went further last week by cancelling licences of 4,470 organisations.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are also introducing rough rules for NGOs and clamping down NGO work, claiming their links with western intelligence agencies. It may be mentioned that Uzbekistan in past banned majority of foreign NGOs due to their alleged involvement to destabilize the government.  Now Pakistan that is known for throbbing NGO sector is following the regional trend. NGO sectors in Pakistan was developed and promoted as parallel semi-government and alternative to democratic institutions during the dictatorial eras of Gen. Ziaul Haq and Gen. Musharraf. 90% of Pakistani NGOs are funded by western countries while majority of this 90% is funded by US based organizations.

The Federal Interior Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan expressed his dissatisfaction over the way NGOs are allegedly hiding their projects, programs, budgets details and he called this practice as having “hidden agenda”.

“We do not want to impose any ban on the NGOs but they will have to respect the code of conduct and the charter of registration,” the minister while taking to media representatives in Islamabad on Friday.

The minister said that the federal government is framing a policy to bring the International NGOs under the domain of the country’s law and constitution. He pointed out that certain NGOs are working beyond their mandate in different parts of the country.

However, he added, that the country welcomes the NGOs engaged in public welfare projects. He said that the government will facilitate such NGOs operating under the domain of their charter.

Nisar further said with regards to the concerns expressed by the European Union on the capital punishment, that the execution is being carried in accordance with the country’s law and constitution.

The interior minister regretted the hue and cry on the revival of capital punishment saying a propaganda campaign has been unleashed to make it controversial.