The Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) has taken serious exception to the statement made by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan where he alleged that local non-governmental organisations (NGO) were involved in anti-state activities and enjoying links with Israel, India and the United States, said a press release issued on Friday.
In a meeting of the forum that represents national NGOs, trade union groups, human rights institutions, journalists’ groups and many other civil society organisations, it was said that such statements were highly irresponsible and totally unfounded.
Representatives of the forum from all over the country attended the meeting and condemned what they called a vilification campaign of the NGOs through statements made by senior politicians and government officials.
About the interior minister’s recent statement, the PCSF representatives said such statements amounted to hate speech as they might incite violence against NGOs and could put at risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of NGO workers active in various parts of Pakistan.
The forum also condemned the arbitrary ban on Save the Children’s office without due process as per local laws. While the government’s quick retraction of that ban was welcomed, the forum believed the threat to the international NGO had not abated.
The forum urged the government to acknowledge the valuable work that national and international NGOs have been doing to help the people of the country and refrain from undermining the work of thousands of NGOs and INGOs.
The civil society organisations which attended the meeting included the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Aurat Foundation, Sungi Development Foundation, Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Shirkat Gah, Omar Asghar Foundation, Rozan, Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy, Paiman, Daman, Bargad – Organisation for Youth Development, Centre for Civic Education, Pattan Development Organisation, and Society for Alternative Media.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2015.
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