ISLAMABAD: Eighteen International non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) were notified on Sunday by the government to wrap up their operations over failing to comply with prescribed rules in the country.
The 18 INGOs, most of were funded by the United States and European nations, were informed on October 2 by the Ministry of Interior through notices that their application for registration had not been approved.
These organisations were asked to wind up operations within 60 days.
Notwithstanding, these INGOs were also given the option to re-apply for registration in light of revised MoU after six months from the date on which they were served the notice.
An employee of one of the INGOs, which has also been asked to wrap up operations, told The Express Tribune that the government did not provide the ‘reasons’ in the notice for having to wind up the operations.
“The government should have seen the matter objectively and taken the decision after viewing the matter from case to case. We provided every detail of our projects, staff and other required information to the government functionaries but still we were denied to operate in the country,” the staffer said.
“Our INGO has been giving services in health and education sectors. I believe the government should not have taken this decision arbitrarily,” he added.
According to him, his INGO last year was denied registration by the interior ministry after which it filed appeal against it with the ministry and that too was turned down. He said the INGOs have been going through a rough patch after the Abbottabad operation in 2011, in which Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces.
“At that time it was said that an NGO had played a role in finding the al Qaeda chief’s whereabouts,” the staffer said.
“It is the government’s right to decide which organisation can continue to operate in the country. However, the decision will affect thousands of people in the country,” he further stated.
Defence analyst Brigadier (retd) Said Nazeer Mohmand told The Express Tribune that intelligence agencies and the interior ministry carried thorough investigation before taking the step against these organisations.
Mohmand said during surveillance of these INGOs, it was revealed that they were involved in ‘suspicious activities’.
“They were doing things which were beyond their given mandate with certain foreign funded organisations which were conducting surveys, as well as, reportedly sharing their data with hostile agencies,” he said.
The defence analyst said that some of the INGOs were also operating near sensitive installations.
He added that some of these organisations have undoubtedly been working for the betterment of the country. However, the activities of others have put them under the ‘suspicious’ category.
While elaborating his point of view, he said while FATA’s merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was being deliberated, a youth movement emerged and gained prominence overnight. “These youth conducted surveys in the area and afterwards were issued US visas. Just imagine what others [foreign elements] have to do with the issue of FATA’s merger with K-P,” he further stated.
He said local influential persons are approached and certain elements are identified and they are told that these organisations are performing a noble cause and later on the youth are engaged in their activities.
According to Mohmand, similar people and projects were given awards in the past, causing insult to Pakistan in the international community. The defence analyst said there seems to be a lack of focus in the country with regards to these issues.
He said there is no system of scrutiny for these organisations, adding that monitoring the INGOs is a continuous process which does not end with a single measure.
Despite reaching out to the interior ministry to comment over the latest development, no one was available to do so.