No security clearance: ECP blacklists INGO working on electoral issues

DRI set up its first office in 2010 to provide technical assistance to parliament


Our Correspondent February 08, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Democracy Reporting International (DRI) – an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on election matters – has been blacklisted by election authorities after the Interior Ministry did not give it a security clearance.

In a circular issued on Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) directed its officials not to interact or share any information with the DRI. The DRI set up its first office in Pakistan in 2010 to provide technical support to Pakistan’s parliament on electoral reforms.

This support included briefings for key stakeholders as well as publications on topics like international standards for election laws, the role of women in voting, and local election legal framework assessments for provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory. The DRI was also working on a project to promote an institutional framework for GSP+ monitoring and support advocacy for human rights in Pakistan, with a focus on civil and political rights.

The ECP circular said the Interior Ministry has not given the DRI security clearance; hence the ECP officials cannot interact with any official of the organisation.

Last year the Interior Ministry had asked all international NGOs to apply for NoC. Of around 130 INGOs that applied for NOC, some 50 have been allowed to work in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2017.

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