Nine INGOs refused registration

Published: November 6, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rejected applications from several international aid groups, including Save the Children, for continuing work in the country under a new policy revised two years ago.

Nine international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), mostly from the US and UK, have been refused registration under the guidelines announced in November 2013.

New policy invites frosty response from NGOs

International trusts had been working in the country after signing “open-ended agreements” but in November 2013 the government introduced a new policy to streamline the functioning of INGOs in the country. Around 150 NGOs, a majority of them international, had submitted relevant registration documents with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) by early 2014.

According to documents submitted to the Senate this week, the names of the trusts whose registration requests have been declined are: the US-based Catholic Relief Services, World Vision International and iMMAP; UK-based International Alert and Save the Children; Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Refugees Council, ZOA International of the Netherlands and Bangladesh-based Dhaka Ahsania.

The summary prepared by the interior ministry available with The Express Tribune states that 67 out of 122 INGOs working in the country have yet to register with the EAD. Only 19 INGOs have re-registered under the post-November 2013 announcement.

International NGOs will require govt consent to gather funds, operate: Nisar

The ministry, in its response to a question put up by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Senator Javed Abbasi, said that 27 INGOs have interim permission to continue operations in the country.

On October 1, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had announced another revised policy requiring all INGOs to re-apply to the government to operate and raise funds in the country. All groups were told to re-register within 60 days.

Five weeks after the government announced the new strategy, only three INGOs have applied for NoCs, a senior interior officer told The Express Tribune. Operations of these aid groups have been stalled for months. November 30 is the deadline for all non-profit groups to get registered.

No progress yet on taming INGOs: sources

Under the Policy for the Regulation of INGOs in Pakistan, unregistered groups will not be allowed to operate inside the country. The policy is meant for greater accountability for INGOs, Nisar claimed, after several international organisations were found to be involved in “anti-state activities”.

In his written reply in the Senate, the interior minister said the ministry had introduced a new policy for regulating the INGOs and the draft bill (Foreign Contribution Act 2014) was under consideration of the law and justice ministry.

Previously the INGOs were being regulated by the EAD under the policy for “Regulation of Organisations Receiving Foreign Funds” dually approved by the Economic Coordination Cabinet Committee.

International NGOs to continue functioning in Pakistan for six months: PM

Interior ministry officials say the new rules are a “bit tough” but the INGOs are deliberately avoiding registration. One official said the aid groups were worried about the new policy and wanted some flexibility.

Around 33 international and 420 domestic non-profit groups had applied for registration under the new policy, he said. These groups are also registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • troubled
    Nov 6, 2015 - 8:47AM

    This is absolutely ridiculous. More than half of those denied are some of the most respected INGOs in the world.

    If the government fails to help its own people, why would it stop others from doing so as well? This is so incredibly shortsighted, that stupid would not be able to describe the people who made this decision.Recommend

  • Syed Harir Shah
    Nov 7, 2015 - 9:15PM

    As a matter of principle, I fully endross the regularization process on INGO/NGO. Refusing to adhare to rule regulation and procedure don’t qualify them to work in the country and raise doubt in the mind of mass. Although, the procedure may be a little complex, but no one is over and above the law. All good deed and actions should be undertaken under a framework that is to ensure transparancy, accountability in financial as well as soçioeconomic term. Social audit of thse organizations is requirement of time. If ur not allowing Govt to audit and review your transections and activities, how a non-government organization demand transparancy, accountability and good governance from the govt. It is compulsory for the govt to ensure transperancy, accounability in financial and programatic matter and NGOs are accountable to both public and govt for their deed and action. Having said this iam also concered about the implemantation of new regulation and policy of the govt by Ministry of Interior, when an experienced EAD department failed to implement it. Whether Chowdry sahib is importing experts and honest officers from abroad in his Ministry, if not what is the guarantee of Interior Ministry,s baboos that the will be competent, honest and dedicated to ensure transparency in the affairs of NGOs, when professional, rrlevent EAD officials, security Exchange and other regularity department failed. If the purpose is security clearance, let ur ministry to ensure and let the regularity bodies to be effective, efficient and competant to come up with the expectation of the govt. If the regularty organizations failed to deliver, pl windup them and save millons of national exchaker costing on them. The commentator is a part of NGOs practitior over 20 years understand insight within NGO culture and also have the experience of the bureaucracy culture.Recommend

  • om parkash
    Nov 9, 2015 - 9:46PM

    I am not totally agreed with Syed Harir shah. This is actually said by Chaudary Nisar during his press conference that only NGOs can reach the grass root level communities but not government bodies because of their corrupt and ghost beaurocratic setup. I am agree that transparency must be a part of all public and private entities working in the country either for profit or non for profit but it should be through mechanism that government should devise at a high standard. This is not a solution to through out the millions of dollars from country only because you can not put check and balance upon INGOs. I think decision should be reviewed again by policy makers and do not let the respected INGOs get out of country who have been serving our deprived and vulnerable communities since the decades.Recommend

  • Naveed
    Nov 13, 2015 - 12:02PM

    It is a good step to regulate INGO/NGO functioning in Pakistan but the question arises here when GOVT will take step to regularize itself and its own ministries, ministers, department and start delerving services to its own people….. Recommend

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