Pakistan expels Save the Children’s foreign staff

Published: September 6, 2012

NGO came under govt suspicion because they came into contact with Shakil Afridi, who helped CIA hunt down bin Laden.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is expelling foreign staff of the Save the Children aid group, an agency official said on Thursday, a decision apparently linked to government suspicion the charity helped US spies hunting Osama bin Laden.

The Interior Ministry had told the aid group that its six foreign employees had to be out of Pakistan within two weeks, said Ghulam Qadri, the group’s director for programme planning and communications.

The ministry gave no reason for the decision, he said. Interior Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

Save the Children and other aid groups have come under government suspicion because of media reports they had come into contact with a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who helped the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hunt down bin Laden.

“The allegations that have appeared in the media that Afridi worked with Save The Children and that Afridi was introduced to CIA by our staff, there is no truth to these allegations and no concrete evidence to support them,” said Qadri.

Bin Laden was killed in May last year when US special forces raided his hideout in the northern Pakistani town of Abbottabad. Pakistan, while a US security ally, objected to the secret US raid as a violation of its sovereignty.

Afridi was arrested soon after bin Laden was killed.

Afridi ran a vaccination campaign in Abbottabad and used cheek swabs to try to gather DNA from bin Laden’s children, who were staying with him in his hideout, one former Pakistani security official familiar with the case said this year.

It was unclear whether the CIA used the swabs to determine if the children were those of the al Qaeda chief.     After his arrest, Afridi was vilified by many Pakistanis for what they saw as his treason for helping the United States.

He was sentenced to 33 years in jail this year.

Save the Children has been working in Pakistan for more than 30 years, employing more than 2,000 Pakistani staff.

Reader Comments (44)

  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:12PM

    and what about people who provided support to Laden in Abottabad or who were not able to detect his presence near the military academy????

    Recommend

  • Aryabhat
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:21PM

    It is absolutely fine if this charity was used as decoy to employ Dr Afridi. However, Govt should work out WHO will provide now service to children that is left unattended? Otherwise most vulnarable children will be the ones who will suffer!

    Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Sep 6, 2012 - 3:23PM

    “Pakistan, while a US security ally, objected to the secret US raid as a violation of its sovereignty”

    Really is Pakistan sovereign enough to tackle its own problems, alone. If we are sovereign, Why then do we go for aid from Uncle Sam?
    Just food for thought.Recommend

  • zeeshan sheikh
    Sep 6, 2012 - 4:02PM

    Why you’re expelling them charge them for spying and hang these US agents.

    Recommend

  • FJ
    Sep 6, 2012 - 4:39PM

    OMG I give regular charity to ‘Save the children’….I will double the amount now ;)

    Recommend

  • Khalq e Khuda
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:12PM

    It is a step in the right direction. While personally I feel Shakil Afridi should be given Nishan e Pakistan, he and the NGO involved have put at risk of polio millions of children throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan by politicising the program.

    Recommend

  • Zaikam
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:12PM

    I don’t know why have we taken this long to do it. I would have preferred two or three of their personnel wasted down the drain. John Perkins tells the good enough about these ‘saviours of humanity” in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”. If Osama was terrorist, so is Uncle Sam and that too of far greater magnitude.

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:25PM

    @Indian Wisdom:
    And what about american fathers failure of 911? with all the best technology, human resources and and the money? Warn’t the Taliban Holy Warriors and Heros in the 80 when they were fighting american cause?
    Lesson for us Pakistanis to kick out all these spies who breach our trust.

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:26PM

    @Indian Wisdom:
    YOUR american fathers

    Recommend

  • Yes!
    Sep 6, 2012 - 5:51PM

    NO, not good news

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Sep 6, 2012 - 6:19PM

    So Laden is more serious matter than Children?

    Recommend

  • Tahir
    Sep 6, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Why this move all of a sudden?
    This makes no sense whatsoever. But then things dont happen with a “sense” here.

    Recommend

  • Fundyar
    Sep 6, 2012 - 6:47PM

    They do good work
    Expel the army also then

    Recommend

  • FU
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:23PM

    @Hassan LoL So America is not your father.Very smart way to avoid humiliation by saying India is America’s stooge when your country itself has been stooge of America ever since independence. Now you have become China’s stooge in this great game. Recommend

  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:27PM

    @A Pakistani: When was the last time you filed your income tax papers and deposited taxes in the bank or to the appropriate agency. Nothing is free under the sun.Either you pay your taxes or ask for aid.

    This is again one of those absurd decision government officials make. If people of Pakistan say that do not paint everyone with the same brush than it applies same to the NGO. All they have to say is to transfer the country chief or work out internally. By bringing it out in the open it gives a clear indication that OBL and his children were more important than the children of Joe average Pakistani.Recommend

  • anwar
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:32PM

    “good” work?? must be kidding Its another name for Buy and sell babies on the black marketRecommend

  • 1984
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:34PM

    @Hassan:
    YOUR american fathers

    Its hilarious to see that a citizen from the country which was part of SEATO and CENTO and allows its land to be used as US bases,became the ally in war on terror and receives aid money for almost every yr since its inception call US as a founding father for a NAM founding member who is a close aide to Soviet and didnt have any deal with US before 2000

    Recommend

  • Peace On Earth
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:40PM

    @ zeeshan sheikh: People like you and their backward thinking is the reason why Pakistan is going back into the past.

    The Pakistani government is just angry that world opinion has turned against them and the double game they have been playing is over. Rather then be grateful for the American aid and taking a stand against terrorism, it plays the victim cards and blames America.

    Don’t say America brought extremism upon Pakistan. The Pakistani government has for years tried to control something it cannot and now that has been unleashed and we are stuck facing the wrath of extremism.Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Sep 6, 2012 - 8:49PM

    For the first time in a long while that other than not giving in to Indian blackmail regarding the Mumbai drama, the government has something praiseworthy. Still, one wishes the staff of the NGO were all rounded up and put behind bars for life so no one will ever again think of hurting Pakistan by collaborating with outsiders.

    Recommend

  • antanu
    Sep 6, 2012 - 8:56PM

    @Peace On Earth:
    you and your liked who treat uncle sam as their god will be taken for a surprise very shortly. Sccept it or not…sll the evils in the world are result of US policies…you keep defending the biggest culprit but the truth will remain.Recommend

  • Butt
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:02PM

    @antanu:
    Uncle Sam is not our God. It is yours as your beg them to open the skies and pour you the money for the sustenance of your country. Without this “God” your are nothing.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani Pashtoon
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:03PM

    osama was a terrorist and an aly of talibans, pakistan is against these terrorist in this war so why is pakistan complaining now, they shud be happy that somebody who has put not pakistan into destruction bt also the world peace as well

    Recommend

  • Butt
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @kaalchakra:
    Would you also like your brothers and sisters to be all rounded up and put behind bars for life so no one will ever think of hurting the host country by collaborating with Pakistan?

    Recommend

  • Sep 6, 2012 - 10:19PM

    U.S.-Pakistani relations disintegrated last year over a series of clashes, including the bin Laden raid, culminating in a “friendly fire” episode in November in which American aircraft mistakenly attacked two Pakistani border outposts, killing 24 soldiers. In response, Pakistan stopped permitting NATO supplies headed for Afghanistan to pass through its territory.Recommend

  • AFGHAN
    Sep 6, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Good move from the government of Pakistan. These foreign aid workers are always up to something fishy.

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Sep 6, 2012 - 11:23PM

    Butt

    If the government wishes to put behind bars for life my bothers and sisters – all self-respecting people who refuse to submit to the hegemony of and become slaves to Uncle Sam , it is most welcome to do so (if it survives for a day).

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 6, 2012 - 11:33PM

    Pakistan wants to expel Save The Children organization that is doing important social service, but wants to protect global terrorists like Bin Laden, Zawahiri etc. That pretty much tells where Pakistan’s priorities and interests lie.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Sep 7, 2012 - 12:24AM

    Save the Children and other aid groups
    have come under government suspicion
    because of media reports they had come
    into contact with a Pakistani doctor,
    Shakil Afridi, who helped the US
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) hunt
    down bin Laden

    So why is it unusual for a charitable organization which provides free health care having contact with a Doctor — are you going to investigate all of the Doctors these organizations have had contact with? Just because your embarrassed that you were caught hiding the most wanted terrorist on the planet doesn’t give you carte blanche to target NGO’s who are providing services your govt has neglected – using money donated by “foreigners” who also seem to care more about the children of Pakistan than your own govt/military.

    Recommend

  • nawab
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:07AM

    such a shameful decision

    Recommend

  • Indian Troll
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:20AM

    What would India do if they find some NGO helping someone spying in India for whatever reasons?

    Recommend

  • gp65
    Sep 7, 2012 - 3:46AM

    @kaalchakra: “Still, one wishes the staff of the NGO were all rounded up and put behind bars for life so no one will ever again think of hurting Pakistan by collaborating with outsiders.

    Maybe this is your sense of humour – but it is not funny. While obviously government would not do the absurd thing you are stating, the vigilantism that we see in the streets is precisely because of the deliberate inflaming of public passions that educated people like you do. If Pakistan continues to alienate who actually wantt to help Pakistanis, the price will be paid by Pakistanis not others. Already Red Cross has literally wound up its operations in Pakistan becausee its workers are not safe.

    Recommend

  • Babbarsher Khan
    Sep 7, 2012 - 5:50AM

    So those who gave shelter to that global outlaw should get government jobs, right?

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:22AM

    @Indian Troll:

    “What would India do if they find some NGO helping someone spying in India for whatever reasons?”

    Here, “whatever” is the key. If bin Laden or a top global terrorist is hiding India, India should give a big reward and recognition to the NGO for helping catch or eliminate the terrorist.

    Recommend

  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Sep 7, 2012 - 8:17AM

    A painful but correct decision it will help restore shaken confidence of people on those NGOs who are working sincerely for the welfare of those who need.

    A just cause cannot justify the breaking of law and compromise on agreed principles, NGOs need to be extra cautious on this.

    Recommend

  • Pakboy
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:12AM

    kick out all spies

    Recommend

  • ABKhan
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:50AM

    @Indian Wisdom:
    Retard argument…….. When have world started taking decisions on the bases of other cases? I am sure in India no criminal get prosecuted because someone else in the past was not trialed. I only heard you guys were dumb but now its proved.

    Recommend

  • Hardliner
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:50AM

    well there may not be a concrete evidence to support it but it definitely is the truth!!!

    Recommend

  • ABKhan
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:52AM

    @FJ:
    OMG you dont even know Save the children doesnt accept individual donations. Epic fail

    Recommend

  • Butt
    Sep 7, 2012 - 9:53AM

    @kaalchakra:
    Read my comment again. In it I said “host country” meaning Western countries.

    Recommend

  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 7, 2012 - 10:03AM

    @FU:
    Thanks brother for the fitting reply!!!!

    Recommend

  • Indian Wisdom
    Sep 7, 2012 - 10:25AM

    @ABKhan:
    I beg to differ!!! So many months after the investigations in the issue, the result is Shakil Afridi behind bars (the person who provided help in getting the most wanted terrorist in the world) , Save the children staffs punished (for having contacts with Dr. Shakil Afridi) but no action against people who were actually behind providing logistic support to Laden and supported the most wanted terrorist in having comparatively comfortable life near the capital Islamabad.
    I think any civilized country will assume that the law enforcement agencies in the country (including Police, Intelligence agencies and Judiciary) is not imparting its expected responsibilities properly.
    I don’t know why bringing people, who provided all kind of supported to Laden, to justice is taken as a dumb idea!!! But one thing is sure, if this would have happened in any other civilized country, the case would have been different and there supporting Laden would have been considered an retarded idea.

    Recommend

  • Imran Con
    Sep 7, 2012 - 2:29PM

    @ABKhan:
    Foot+Mouth
    I knew you were wrong but, I decided to go ahead and look it up which took me less than 30 seconds to make it a bit more concrete so you can’t try to soften the fall… Here’s a quote and a URL for you. Both the same page.
    “Our work would not be possible without individual donations made by people like you.”
    http://multimedia.savethechildren.org/donate/

    What was it you said again? Epic fail?

    Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Sep 7, 2012 - 7:07PM

    Indian Foolishness

    (1) One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.
    (2) If being civilized means being like India, then please, let this civilization pass.
    (3) Thank you.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Sep 8, 2012 - 6:39PM

    Now that Pakistan has successfully dealt with the alleged killers of OBL, will they do something about dealing with the killers of their own citizens?

    Recommend

More in Pakistan