Unspecified funding: Supreme Court seeks details on regulation of NGOs

Warns that it will summon top bureaucrats if federal and provincial governments fail to satisfy court

Hasnaat Malik June 24, 2015
Warns that it will summon top bureaucrats if federal and provincial governments fail to satisfy court. PHOTO: Online

ISLAMABAD:


The Supreme Court has sought reports from federal and provincial governments regarding regulation of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working in the country. A three-judge bench — headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja — on Tuesday asked the governments for details of registration of the NGOs as well as their supervision and mode of funding.


The bench observed that both federal and provincial governments have failed to apprise the court of the procedure regarding registration as well as supervision of NGOs. It warned that if the court was not satisfied with their replies, then it would summon federal and provincial chief and home secretaries.



The bench took notice of the working of NGOs while hearing a case related to the bail of an accused in an alleged fraud. The accused was business partner with an NGO named ‘Baraan’. In the previous hearing, the bench had kept the accused’s bail matter pending and sought a report from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and federal governments regarding details of the NGO.

Read: NGOs to operate under interior ministry: Nisar

While submitting its report on Tuesday, K-P’s additional advocate general informed the bench that the NGO was unregistered. Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti told the court that they have written a letter to State Bank’s governor to seek details of accounts of the NGO concerned.

During the hearing, Justice Khawaja remarked that newspapers were full of reports on NGOs and ministers were giving statements on the matter but the fact was that nothing had been done to regulate NGOs. He expressed concern that the federal and provincial governments were unaware as to who transferred Rs30 million in the bank account of ‘Barran’. “Money is oxygen for NGOs and if their funding is stopped, then they will close down,” he said.  The hearing of case is adjourned till July 1.

ECP challenges LHC order

Separately, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Punjab’s provincial election commissioner (PEC) on Tuesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court against Lahore High Court’s May 25 judgment.

Read: ‘Sweeping comment’: Civil society objects to interior minister’s statement on NGOs

It said the LHC on a writ petition of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader passed an oral judgment but did not provide its written copy. The ECP, through its secretary and the PEC, filed the petition for leave to appeal under Article 185(3) of Constitution against the LHC order.

The ECP said the issuance of the code of conduct for by-elections in various constituencies of local government has been sufficiently delayed due to verbal order of the LHC.

The ECP on May 7 issued a notification for holding by-election in PP-106 (Multan-VI), NA-108 (Mandi Bahuddin-I) and PK-56 (Mansehra-VI) barring certain persons (public office holders) from taking part in the election campaign. Sarwar Khan, PTI’s president for Punjab central region, filed a writ petition before the LHC, which after hearing the case orally allowed the petition on May 25, but did not provide the copy of the order.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2015. 

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