Interior ministry starts registration of NGOs, madrassas, SC told

ICT issued notices to 1427 NGOs and Madrassas seeking their financial details, audit reports and project details


Hasnaat Malik July 16, 2015
The interior ministry informed the court that the ICT administration had digitised the data of more than 1,400 NGOs in their jurisdiction. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Interior Ministry on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) had issued notices to 1,427 non-government organisations (NGOs), international non-government organisations (INGOs) and madrassas, asking them to provide their financial details, including audit reports of their accounts and details of their projects.

The three judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja had sought a comprehensive report on the steps taken by the government to regularise NGOs in view of the National Action Plan, which had been formulated in wake of the terrorist attack on Army public school in Peshawar.

The apex court had snubbed authorities for failing to take any meaningful steps either in respect of item No6 of NAP, which stipulates choking financing for terrorists and terrorist organisations; or in respect to item No4, which requires strengthening and activation of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).

Read: Billions for counter-terrorism, nothing for Nacta

During Thursday's hearing, the federal government told the SC that for the first time in the budget for 2015-16, an amount of Rs100.34 million had been allocated for NACTA, adding that an additional Rs1.95 billion were sought for the establishment of a Joint Intelligence Directorate.

Read: Regulating NGO funding

Providing the court information about registration of NGOs, the interior ministry said that a comprehensive data base of NGOs and INGOs is in the process of being created, adding that there are an estimated 30,000 such organisations working in the country.

The ministry added that NGO management was being regulated by the provinces and will continue to be governed under the relevant laws by the provinces. However, a uniform data base will be made available on ministry of interior websites for transparency and for public information.

Citing steps taken by the ICT administration to regulate the working of NGOs and INGOs in their jurisdiction, the interior ministry informed the court that the ICT administration had digitised the data of more than 1,400 NGOs in their jurisdiction, while the audit reports of 35 NGOs have been handed over to Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan for scrutiny.

It was also revealed that a uniform template has been formulated and circulated to all the provinces and the ICT for collating information about NGOs working in the country. A deadline has also been set for all INGOs for completing registrations.

The reply further stated that the prime minister had constituted a high level committee to review laws and regulations regarding the registration and activities of INGOs since all INGOs will need apply afresh to ministry of interior through the online registration form.

However, it has been reported that after the prime minister’s decision to transfer the task of registering INGOs from the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to the Ministry of Interior (MoI), there was complete confusion over the transition of the entire process, stalling it.

The hearing of the case will resume on July 22.

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